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Herod’s Tomb Discovered

John on May 8, 2007 at 1:44 am

That’s the original Herod, aka Herod the Great. He was a brutal ruler, a friend of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony who had a taste for large building projects:

Herod, whose father and grandfather converted to Judaism, was appointed governor of Galilee at the age of 25 and was made “King of the Jews” by the Roman senate in approximately 40 BCE. He remained king for around 34 years.

Herod, also known as Herod the Great, is credited with expanding the Second Temple and building Caesarea, Masada, and many other monumental construction projects. He died in the year 4 BCE in Jericho after a long illness.

Herod decided to construct his tomb at Herodium because the site played a role in two dramatic events in his life. In the year 43 BCE, when Herod was still governor of the Galilee, he was forced to flee Jerusalem along with his family after his enemies the Parthians laid siege to the city.

His mother’s chariot flipped over near Herodium, and Herod became hysterical until he realized she was only lightly wounded. A short while later, the Parthians caught up to Herod and his entourage, although Herod and his men emerged victorious in the ensuing battle.

At Herodium, Herod built one of the largest monarchical complexes in the Roman Empire, which served as a residential palace, a sanctuary, an administrative center and a mausoleum. Herod first built an artificial cone-shaped hill that could be seen from Jerusalem, on which he constructed a fortified palace surrounded by watchtowers that he used solely in wartime.

At the base of the hill, he built an additional palace, which was the size of a small town and known as “Lower Herodium.” The palace included many buildings, fancy gardens, pools, stables, and storage areas.

Herod spared no expense in an attempt to turn the site into a regional gem, bringing water from Solomon’s Pools and special soil to allow his gardens to blossom in the heart of the desert.

Archaeologists had long believed Herod was buried at the Herodium but had been unable to locate the tomb until now.

More details of the find are going to be released in the coming days.

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Category: Archaeology |

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