Term Paper: King Herod, the Great

Pages: 20 (5872 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Israel  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] In the spring of 30 B.C. Herod met Octavius in Rhodes. But before he left he gave instructions to two of his friends that if was executed then they have to kill Alexandra and Mariamne, so that his sons and his brother Pheroras would rule his kingdom (3).

King Herod played his part well when he came in Rhodes to stand before Octavius. He confessed immediately that he was a true friend of Marc Antony and that he did not fight against Octavius due to his war against the Arabs (3). His arguments to Octavius gave the impression that if he was loyal to Marc Antony then his loyalty would benefit Octavius. This explanation allowed Herod to remain as the ruler of Judea and he returned home (3).

Same year, Octavius on his way to Egypt also came to the coast of Phoenicia. Herod welcomed him and greeted him to Ptolemais with great festivity, which delighted Octavius a lot (3). Herod even presented him with a gift of 800 talents and supplies for the Roman soldiers. In August of 30 B.C. Octavius marched through Egypt where at this time Marc Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Upon hearing this, Herod came to Egypt to congratulate Octavius (3).

The Death of Mariamne

Herod enjoyed his so-called success of his kingdom, while things in Judea were far away from peace (3, 4). As he was at Rhodes, Mariamne came to know from one of Herod's friends named Soemus that Herod gave the order to kill her if he was executed. Thus, upon, Herod arrival she turned bitter toward him (3, 4).

On the other hand, Salome bribed Herod's cup-bearer to say that Mariamne had made some kind of love-potion for the king (3, 4). Herod punished the cup-bearer but couldn't find anything about the potion. However, he did find out that Mariamne detested him for wanting to execute her if he was put to death (3, 4).

In actual, while, Herod he was alive, never wanted to put Mariamne to death, and would not kill her but had her put in prison. Due to all his emotions so stimulated that Salome took advantage of and in some way persuaded King Herod to have her executed finally (3, 4).

The Death of the Last of the Hasmoneans

After going into a long period of depression over Mariamne, Herod once again started his bloodshed and executed the last of the male relatives of Hyrcanus, so that none would be left who could argue or challenge his occupancy of the throne (3, 4).

Herod Regime from 25-14 B.C.

This period has been marked with magnificence and enjoyment. However, there were some moments of great disturbance (5). The first thing indicated about this era was when King Herod dishonored the Jewish law by means of introducing the quinquennial games in honor of Caesar and in an attempt to do this he built great amphitheaters theaters and race courses for both men and horses (5).

Herod as Master Builder

It was around 24 B.C. that Herod built for himself a royal palace and also reconstructed many fortresses and Gentile temples, which include the reconstruction of Straton's Tower, renamed as Caesarea (5). However, his greatest building was the Temple in Jerusalem which started in 20 or 19 B.C. It was considered to be the most dignified of all his achievements. Rabbinic literature states (5):

He_who has not, seen the Temple of Herod clever seen a beautiful building"

BT: Baba Bathraa'-Tlso,

Further, it was suggested that it was his "atonement for having slain so many sages of Israel" -Midrash: Num 14:8

Since in this period he had great interest in culture, he surrounded himself with all such men who were skillful in Greek literature and art (5). The highest offices of state were assigned to Greek rhetoricians, one of whom was Nicolas of Damascus, as Herod's instructor (5).

Nicolas was King's advisor and was always included in Herod's dealings both before and after his death. King Herod received directions from him in history, philosophy and rhetoric (5). Thus, this was another side to Herod, having visionary building programs, along with creative development of trade with the world, as well as his development of the interests of his nation, considered as legendary (5).

Most of his building programs were designed in order to strengthen the loyalty of his subjects. Further, most of the buildings appeared to have been built to strengthen his relationship with Rome and to prove himself as the greatest king the Jews had ever had.

His building programs include (5):

Jerusalem

Jerusalem was reconstructed in a fabulous setting unrivaled in the ancient world. Few of the limestone blocks of the supporting platform weighed more than 500 tons. The Temple has been made of marble and gold and was taller than a 15-story building (5).

In addition, on the Western Hill of the city, Herod constructed a stunning palace complex that contained royal apartments, reception halls, fountains, gardens, and baths along with a fortress for his own personal guard (5). Then there was Antonia, which was a huge fortress and as luxurious as Herod's own palace.

According to few scholars believe it was the site of Jesus' trial. Herod appreciated a Greek theater as well as hippodrome that gave the Hellenistic emphasis. While Streets were paved, drains were built, and water carriers were reconstructed to make Jerusalem one of the great cities of the world (5).

Masada

One of the wonders of the ancient world was part of a line of fortresses, which included the Herodion, Machaerus, the Alexandrion and Masada. While, combined with all the essential elements of a Herod project, the plateau in the Judea wilderness had a stunning view of the Dead Sea with approximately 2,000 feet below (5). Moreover, a three-tiered palace hung riskily from one end of the plateau, that it almost defied gravity. While, the western area comprised of mosaic floors, hot and cold baths and plastered walls. Also, Masada contained huge warehouses with supplies for outlasting years of siege barracks for soldiers, swimming pools and cisterns that held millions of gallons of water (5).

The Herodion

The Herodion as being the mountain fortress ignored the town of Bethlehem. The upper fortress seen by standing on a high hill, was round and more than 200 feet in diameter. However, originally, it was seven stories high, along with an eastern tower that stood more than 40 feet higher (5).

Packed dirt covered the first four stories, giving a cone shape to the upper fortress. Inside were a peristyle garden with reception hall, Roman baths, and innumerable apartments. While, the lower palace included a 600-foot-long terrace, a huge pool, a colonnaded garden and a building that was more than 400 feet long, making the Herodion as the third-largest palace in the ancient world (5).

Jericho

Jericho was built on both sides of a deep dry streambed called wadi, along with a bridge across the bed. One wing held a huge, marble-floored hall where King Herod used to receive his guests. While next to it were dining halls, peristyle gardens with a complete Roman bath. Also, across the wadi, Herod built another monumental building that had baths, a swimming pool and gardens (6).

Caesarea

In order to have contact with the Roman world for the military support as well as for its market for the spice trade and other goods that was controlled by his people he built this place (6). Due to this reason, Caesarea was built on the Mediterranean coast, which was one of the most magnificent seaports of the ancient world. It was founded in 22 B.C. where the city had a large theater with an amphitheater, a massive temple to Augustus and a hippodrome (6). Caesarea was almost entirely covered with imported marble with an elaborated drainage system that was designed to be clean by the sea.

Household Affairs

As for his household affairs he married another Mariamne (who we can refer to as Mariamne II), she was the daughter of Simon, a famous priest in Jerusalem just about 24 B.C. In 22 B.C. Herod sent his two sons of Mariamne I, Alexander and Aristobulus, to Rome for their schooling (6). Augustus took these sons with pleasure and they stayed at the residence of Asinius Pollio who claimed to be one of Herod's most dedicated friends (6).

During this time Augustus presented Herod the lands of Trachonitis, Batanea, and Auranitis which were occupied by nomad robber clans with whom the bordering tetrarch Zenodorus had made common cause (6). It is evident that there was a harmonious relationship between Augustus Caesar and Herod. Herod, undeniably, was an important emperor of Rome for he kept that part of the Roman Empire organized (6).

In 20 B.C Augustus came to Syria, he gave to Herod the territory of Zenodorus or the one which was in the middle of Trachonitis and Galilee, including Ulatha… [END OF PREVIEW]

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