Herod the Great

Herod I (/ˈhɛrəd/; Hebrew: הוֹרְדוֹס, Modern: Hōrdōs, Tiberian: Hōrəḏōs; Greek: Ἡρῴδης Hērǭdēs; c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman client king of Judea,[4][5][6] referred to as the Herodian kingdom. He is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his renovation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the expansion of the Temple Mount towards its north,[7] the enclosure around the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada, and Herodium. Vital details of his life are recorded in the works of the 1st century CE Roman–Jewish historian Josephus.[8]

Bust from Memphis, Egypt, late Hellenistic period, probably depicting Ptolemy IX Soter, but possibly depicting Herod[1]
Roman client king of Judea
Reign37–4 BCE (Schürer)
36–1 BCE (traditional)[2]
36–1 CE (Pratt)[3]
PredecessorAntigonus II Mattathias (as King of Judea)
Bornc. 72 BCE
Idumea, Hasmonean Judea
DiedMarch–April 4 BCE (Schürer) or January–April 1 BCE (traditional) or early 1 CE (Pratt)
Jericho, Judea
Most likely the Herodium
FatherAntipater the Idumaean
ReligionSecond Temple Judaism

Herod also appears in the Christian Gospel of Matthew as the ruler of Judea who orders the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of the birth of Jesus, although most Herod biographers do not believe this event to have occurred.[9] Despite his successes, including singlehandedly forging a new aristocracy from practically nothing,[10] he has still garnered criticism from various historians. His reign polarizes opinion amongst scholars and historians, some viewing his legacy as evidence of success, and some as a reminder of his tyrannical rule.[8]

Upon Herod's death, the Romans divided his kingdom among three of his sons and his sister: Archelaus became ethnarch of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea; Herod Antipas became tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea; Philip became tetrarch of territories north and east of the Jordan; and Salome I was given a toparchy including the cities of Jabneh, Ashdod, and Phasaelis.