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The Herodian dynasty was a royal dynasty of Idumaean (Edomite) descent, ruling the Herodian Kingdom and later the Herodian Tetrarchy, as vassals of the Roman Empire. The Herodian dynasty began with Herod the Great, who assumed the throne of Judea, with Roman support, bringing down the century long Hasmonean Kingdom. His kingdom lasted until his death in 4 BCE, when it was divided between his sons as a Tetrarchy, which lasted for about 10 years. Most of those tetrarchies, including Judea proper, were incorporated into Judaea Province from 6 CE, though limited Herodian de facto kingship continued until Agrippa I's death in 44 CE and nominal title of kingship continued until 92 CE, when the last Herodian monarch, Agrippa II, died and Rome assumed full power over his de jure domain.
The Edomites were gradually integrated into the Judean nation, and some of them reached high-ranking positions. In the days of Alexander Jannaeus, Edomite Antipas, was appointed governor of Edom. His son Antipater, father of Herod the Great, was the chief adviser to Hasmonean Hyrcanus II and managed to establish a good relationship with the Roman Republic, who at that time (63 BCE) extended their influence over the region, following conquest of Syria and intervention in a civil war in Judea.
Julius Caesar appointed Antipater to be procurator of Judea in 47 BCE and he appointed his sons Phasael and Herod to be governors of Jerusalem and Galilee respectively. Antipater was murdered in 43 BCE; however, his sons managed to hold the reins of power and were elevated to the rank of tetrarchs in 41 BCE by Mark Antony.
Rise to power
In 40 BCE, the Parthians invaded the eastern Roman provinces and managed to drive the Romans out of many areas. In Judea, the Hasmonean dynasty was restored under king Antigonus as a pro-Parthian monarch. Herod the Great, the son of Antipater the Idumean and Cypros (possibly of Nabataean descent), managed to escape to Rome. After convincing the Roman Senate of his sincere intentions in favor of Romans he eventually was announced as king of the Jews by the Roman Senate. Despite his announcement as king of the whole of Judea, Herod did not fully conquer it until 37 BCE. He subsequently ruled the Herodian kingdom as a vassal king for 34 years, crushing the opposition while also initiating huge building projects, including the harbor at Caesarea Maritima, the plaza surrounded by retaining walls at the Temple Mount, the Masada and the Herodium, among other fortresses and public works. Herod ruled Judea until 4 BCE; at his death his kingdom was divided among his three sons as a tetrarchy.
Herod Archelaus, son of Herod and Malthace the Samaritan, was given the main part of the kingdom: Judea proper, Edom and Samaria. He ruled for ten years until 6 CE, when he was "banished to Vienne in Gaul, where according to Dion Cassius Cocceianus, "Hist. Roma," lv. 27—he lived for the remainder of his days." See also Census of Quirinius.
Philip the Tetrarch, sometimes erroneously called Herod Philip I, son of Herod and his fifth wife Cleopatra of Jerusalem, was given jurisdiction over the northeast part of his father's kingdom; he ruled there until his death in 34 CE.
Herod Antipas, another son of Herod and Malthace, was made ruler of the Galilee and Perea; he ruled there until he was exiled to Gaul by emperor Caligula in 39 CE. Herod Antipas is probably the person referenced in the Christian New Testament Gospels, playing a role in the death of John the Baptist and the trial of Jesus.
Agrippa I was the grandson of Herod; thanks to his friendship with Emperor Caligula, the emperor appointed him ruler with the title of king over the territories of Herod Philip I in 37 CE, which were after Herod Philip's death in 34 CE shortly part of the Roman province of Syria, and in 39 CE he was given the territories of Herod Antipas. In 41 CE, Emperor Claudius added to his territory the parts of Iudea province, that previously belonged to Herod Archelaus. Thus Agrippa I practically re-united his grandfather's kingdom under his rule. Agrippa died in 44 CE.
Agrippa I's son Agrippa II was appointed King and ruler of the northern parts of his father's kingdom. He actively participated in the quelling of the Great Revolt of Judea on the Roman side. Agrippa II was the last of the Herodians, and with his death in 92 CE the dynasty was extinct, and the kingdom became fully incorporated into the Roman province of Judaea.
Herodian dynasty in later culture
- Hordos u-Miryam (1935), a Hebrew novel by Aaron Orinowsky
- Mariamne (1967), a Swedish novel by Pär Lagerkvist
- Claudius the God (1934), an English novel by Robert Graves, features Herod Agrippa I as an important character
- Herod appears in some cycles of the Mystery Plays, played as an over the top villain. Such portrayals were still in folk memory in William Shakespeare's time, for Hamlet instructs the players not to "out-Herod Herod" (Act 3, Scene 2).
- Marianna (1565), an Italian drama by Lodovico Dolce
- Mariam, the Faire Queene of Jewry (1613) an English drama by Elizabeth Tanfield Cary
- Herod and Antipater, with the Death of Faire Mariam (1622), an English drama by Gervase Markham and William Sampson
- Mariamne (1636), a French drama by François Tristan l'Hermite
- La mort des enfants d’Hérode; ou, Suite de Mariamne (1639), a French drama by Gathier de Costes de la Calprenède
- Herod and Mariamne (1673), an English drama by Samuel Pordage
- La Mariamne (1696), an Italian opera by Giovanni Maria Ruggeri (mus.) and Lorenzo Burlini (libr.)
- Mariamne (1723), a French drama by Elijah Fenton
- Herod features in two 18th century French plays on Mariamne, by Nadal and Voltaire.
- Herodes und Mariamne (1850), a German drama by Christian Friedrich Hebbel
- Myriam ha-Hashmonayith (1891), a Yiddish drama by Moses Seiffert
- Tsar Irod I tsaritsa Mariamna (1893), a Russian drama by Dmitri Alexandrov
- Herod and Mariamne (1938), an English drama by Clemence Dane
- Herod and Mariamne (1888), an English poem by Amelie Rives
- Mariamne (1911), an English poem by Thomas Sturge Moore
- Mariamne Leaving the Judgment Seat of Herod (1887), a painting by John William Waterhouse
- Herod’s Lament for Mariamne (1815), an English song by Isaac Nathan (mus.) and George Byron (libr.)
- Herodes und Mariamne (1922), incidental music by Karol Rathaus
- Lied der Mariamne (ohne Worte) (1927), incidental music by Mikhail Gnesin
- La Marianna (1785), an Italian ballet by Giuseppe Banti (chor.)
- Marianne (1796), opera in French with music by Nicolas Dalayrac and a libretto of Benoît-Joseph Marsollier
- Hérodiade (1881), opera in French by Jules Massenet after Gustave Flaubert's play Hérodias (1877)
- Salome (1905), opera in German by Richard Strauss after Oscar Wilde's play's Salome
- History of ancient Israel and Judah#Roman occupation
- Herod's Temple
- Herodian coinage
- List of Hasmonean and Herodian rulers
- Siege of Jerusalem (37 BC)
- Jewish War 1.14.4: Mark Antony " …then resolved to get him made king of the Jews… told them that it was for their advantage in the Parthian war that Herod should be king; so they all gave their votes for it. And when the senate was separated, Antony and Caesar went out, with Herod between them; while the consul and the rest of the magistrates went before them, in order to offer sacrifices [to the Roman gods], and to lay the decree in the Capitol. Antony also made a feast for Herod on the first day of his reign."
- Jewish Encyclopedia: Archelaus: Banishment and Death
- Julia Wilker, Für Rom und Jerusalem. Die herodianische Dynastie im 1. Jahrhundert n.Chr. (Berlin, Verlag Antike, 2007) (Studien zur Alten Geschichte, 5).
- Burrell, Barbara, and Ehud Netzer. “Herod the Builder.” Journal of Roman Archaeology 12 (1999): 705–715.
- Kokkinos, Nikos. The Herodian Dynasty: Origins, Role In Society and Eclipse. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998.
- Kropp, Andreas J M. “Kings in Cuirass — Some Overlooked Full-Length Portraits of Herodian and Nabataean Dynasts.” Levant 45, no. 1 (2013): 45–56.
- Richardson, Peter. Herod: King of the Jews and Friend of the Romans. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.
- Rocca, Samuel. Herod’s Judaea: a Mediterranean state in the classical world. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008.
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