luxurious, impregnable until the Romans came....
remote fortress where Herod Antipas killed John the Baptist
luxurious winter palace of Herod the Great
a hill fortress where there had been only flat ground
Wailing Wall is all that's left of Herod's Jerusalem
A family that
went down in history for its villainy
Was Salome an
innocent party, or a devious young woman out to kill her mother's enemy?
Jesus called him 'That fox...'
Herod Antipas: Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 23:7ff
Herod Antipas was one of the few sons of Herod the Great to survive, and he did so largely because he was cunning and/or lethargic. He took pains not to be a threat, not to be noticed.
This modus operandum seems to have become habit for him, for later in life he had to be goaded before he would take action.
Herod Antipas Falls in Love
He managed to rule effectively for many years, but then he divorced his Nabatean wife, daughter of the desert kingdom abutting his own, to marry Herodias, formerly the wife of his half brother.
It was not a wise move, and can only have been motivated by love, even though both parties were no longer young. The marriage offended his Jewish subjects, who found a voice in John the Baptist, and it also alienated his Nabatean ex father-in-law, Aretas IV.
Conflict Between Antipas and John
John the Baptist's outspoken criticism forced Antipas to imprison him, but he was reluctant to kill the man, since he had a large and excitable following.
Something however seems to have forced Herod to eliminate the man, which he would clearly have rather not done. The gospels put the blame on Herodias herself and her daughter from her previous marriage, Salome, but the real story was probably more politically complicated than this.
In any event, Herod ordered the death of John, sending a stern lesson to his subject that dissention would not be tolerated.
Herod Antipas and Jesus
Later, when Jesus' miracles were reported to him, Antipas believed that John the Baptist had been resurrected.
Antipas was in Jerusalem when Jesus was arrested in the combustible week of Passover, and the Roman procurator Pilate sent Jesus to him. This was because Jesus came from a territory governed by Antipas, and was therefore nominally in his power.
Antipas was loathe to have anything to do with Jesus - he was a man of his time and believed in magic and witchcraft, and suspected that Jesus was adept in both these arts. So Antipas returned Jesus to Pilate, thus relieving himself of the problem.
Though Antipas was cautious in political matters, he was unsuccessful in controlling his family, and had a particularly bad relationship with Herodias' brother Agrippa.
Caligula and Herod Antipas
Unfortunately for Antipas, Agrippa had lived in Rome and become a close friend of a young member of the imperial family, Caligula. When Caligula became emperor Agrippa laid charges, partially true, against Antipas.
Caligula, now given a pretext, banished Antipas to Gaul but gave Herodias a dispensation. Since she was the sister of his friend Agrippa, she might continue to live in Judea and retain some of her possessions.
Herodias proudly refused the pardon and accompanied Antipas into exile - though it was perhaps not too bad a punishment, since tradition has it that they lived hereafter in a magnificent villa in Gaul, near Lyon in the south of France.
Bible Stories: People of
the New Testament: Herod the Great, Herod Antipas and Herod Agrippa