Philip the Tetrarch

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Tiberius featured on a coin struck by Philip the Tetrarch
The territory of Philip, shown in brown, as given to him in 4 BCE following the death of his father, Herod the Great. Iturea and Auranitis are not included in the brown area.
The tetrarchy of Philip (4 BCE - 34 CE), then kingdom of Herod Agrippa I (37 - 44 CE) and Herod Agrippa II (53 - 100 CE): Iturea, Trachonitis, Gaulanitis, Batanea, and Auranitis.

Philip the Tetrarch (c. 26 BCE. - 34 CE), sometimes called Herod Philip II by modern writers (see "Naming convention"), son of Herod the Great and his fifth wife, Cleopatra of Jerusalem, ruled over the northeast part of his father's kingdom between 4 BCE and 34 CE. He was a half-brother of Herod Antipas and Herod Archelaus and should not be confused with Herod II, whom some writers call Herod Philip I.


Philip ruled territories which the Gospel of Luke lists as Iturea and Trachonitis[1] and Flavius Josephus lists as Gaulanitis, Trachonitis and Paneas[2] as well as Batanea, Trachonitis, Auranitis, and "a certain part of what is called the House of Zenodorus".[3] As the capital of his tetrarchy served the city of Caesarea Philippi.

Marriage and dynasty[edit]

Philip married his niece Salome, the daughter of Herodias and Herod II (sometimes called Herod Philip I, and also a member of the Herodian dynasty). This Salome appears in the Bible in connection with the beheading of John the Baptist. However, there would have been a great difference in their ages: Salome was born in ~14 CE, at which time Herod Philip was 39 years old. The gospels of Matthew and Mark state that the Herodias whom Herod Antipas married was the wife of Antipas' brother "Philip", a fact supported by Josephus, who indicated she was the wife of Herod II (a.k.a. Philip I). It is known that Philip the Tetrarch rebuilt the city of Caesarea Philippi, calling it by his own name to distinguish it from the Caesarea on the sea-coast, which was the seat of the Roman government. It is possible that the 'Salome' he was married to was a half-sister by that same name, a daughter of Herod the Great and his 8th wife Elpis. This sibling Salome was born in ~14 BCE, and so only five years younger than Herod Philip (a more realistic age gap). But this would also be the only known occurrence of the children of Herod the Great intermarrying, even if from different mothers. Marriage to 1st cousins and uncles, however, was relatively common in the so-called Herodian dynasty.

Naming convention[edit]

There is no contemporary evidence for Philip the Tetrarch's use of the name "Herod Philip" (Greek: Ἡρώδης Φίλιππος, Hērōdēs Philippos) as a dynastic title, as did occur with his brothers Herod Antipas and Herod Archelaus. Herod II is sometimes called "Herod Philip I" (because both the Gospel of Matthew[4] and Gospel of Mark[5] call the husband of Herodias "Philip"), and then Philip the Tetrarch is called "Herod Philip II".[6][7] Kokkinos says, "The stubborn insistence of many theologians in referring to Herod III as 'Herod Philip' is without any value...No illusory Herod Philip ever existed."[7][pp. 223–233]; [266] Philip the Tetrarch, "unlike his brothers, did not use Herod as a dynastic name."[8] Philip's half-brothers, Archelaus and Antipas, had adopted the name of Herod, "presumably" for a dynastic claim from Herod the Great.[9][page needed][clarification needed]

Family tree of the Herodian dynasty[edit]

Antipater the Idumaean
procurator of Judea
2.Mariamne I
3.Mariamne II
Herod I the Great
king of Judea
5.Cleopatra of Jerusalem
governor of Jerusalem
(1) Antipater
heir of Judaea
(2) Alexander I
prince of Judea
(2) Aristobulus IV
prince of Judea
(3) Herod II Philip
prince of Judea
(4) Herod Archelaus
ethnarch of Judea, Idumea
(4) Herod Antipas
tetrarch of Galilea & Perea
(5) Philip the Tetrarch
of Iturea & Trachonitis
Tigranes V of ArmeniaAlexander II
prince of Judea
Herod Agrippa I
king of Judea
Herod V
ruler of Chalcis
Aristobulus Minor
prince of Judea
Tigranes VI of ArmeniaHerod Agrippa II
king of Judea
ruler of Chalcis
Gaius Julius Alexander
ruler of Cilicia
Gaius Julius Agrippa
quaestor of Asia
Gaius Julius Alexander Berenicianus
proconsul of Asia
Lucius Julius Gainius Fabius Agrippa

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Luke 3:1
  2. ^ "Flavius Josephus, Anitquities XVII., 8 : 1". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "Flavius Josephus, Anitquities XVII., 11 : 4". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Matthew 14:3
  5. ^ Mark 6:17
  6. ^ Note: It is an example of the great difficulty in establishing the relationships of various holders of the same name in the same area or family - especially in the Herodian dynasty.
  7. ^ a b Kokkinos (1998).
  8. ^ Bowman & al., eds. (2001 [1996]). Refers to him throughout as Philip, or Philip the Tetrarch.
  9. ^ Bury & al., eds. (1965 or before)


External links[edit]

Philip the Tetrarch
 Died: 34 AD
Preceded by
King Herod I
Tetrarch of Batanea
4 BC – 34 AD
Title next held by
King Agrippa I