Drusilla (daughter of Herod Agrippa)

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William Hogarth, Paul before Felix, 1752. Drusilla is seated on Felix's right.

Drusilla (born 38, died 25 August 79 AD) was a daughter of Herod Agrippa I and thus sister to Berenice, Mariamne and Herod Agrippa II.

Life[edit]

First marriage[edit]

She was six years of age at the time of her father's death at Caesarea in 44. Her father had betrothed her to Gaius Julius Archelaus Antiochus Epiphanes, first son of King Antiochus IV of Commagene,[1] with a stipulation from her father that Epiphanes should embrace the Jewish religion.[2] The prince in the end refused to abide by his promise to do so, and the marriage had still not been contracted on her father's death. On Agrippa's death:

Once Drusilla's brother, Herod Agrippa II, had been assigned the tetrachy of Herod Philip I (along with Batanea, Trachonites and Abila) in around 49/50, he broke off her engagement to Epiphanes and gave her in marriage to Gaius Julius Azizus, Priest King of Emesa, who, in order to obtain her hand, consented to be circumcised.[2] Herod also at around this time married Mariamne to her betrothed, Gaius the prince of Commagene.

Felix[edit]

It appears that it was shortly after her first marriage was contracted that Antonius Felix, the Roman procurator of Judaea, met Drusilla, probably at her brother's court (Berenice, the elder sister, lived with her brother at this time, and thus Drusilla probably did too). Felix was struck by the great beauty of Drusilla, and determined to make her his (second) wife. In order to persuade her, a practising Jew, to divorce her Jewish husband and marry him, a pagan, he took the following steps:

She was about twenty-two years of age when she appeared at Felix's side, during St. Paul's captivity at Caesarea - Acts 24:24 reports her thus:

"Several days later Felix came [back into court] with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess."

Acts gives no further information on her subsequent life, though Josephus states that they had a son named Marcus Antonius Agrippa and a daughter Antonia Clementiana. Their son perished together with his mother Drusilla, along with noted Roman historian Pliny the Elder plus most of the populations of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius.[6] For further information about the family of Felix and Drusilla, see Antonius Felix.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, xix. 9. § 1.
  2. ^ a b Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, xx.7.1
  3. ^ Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, xix. 9. 1 and xx.7.1
  4. ^ Atomos in some manuscripts
  5. ^ Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, xx.7.2
  6. ^ Mentioned in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, xx.7.2, and in a lost section of the work.

References[edit]