Herod the Great

Rulers of Judea

Hyrcanus II king

67 BC - 63 bc

greatly aided by Antipater, Herod's father.
greatly aided by Pmpey of Rome.

Hyrcanus II Ethnarch

63 bc - 40 bc

figurehead only. real power in the hands of Antipater

Antipater Procurator

47 bc - 40 bc

real power in Judea

Antigonus king

40 bc - 36 bc

Herod the Great king

37 bc - 4 bc

end date may be controversial in some circles.

Philip II

4 bc - 34 ad

Son of Cleopatra of Jerusalem.
Tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitis.

Archelaus Ethnarch

4 bc - 6 ad

Son of Malthace.
Augustus strips of power after repeated complaints from Jews and relatives.
Head of kingdom. Ethnarch over Judea, Samaria, and Idumea.


4 bc - 39 ad

Son of Malthace. Full brother of Archelaus and his greatest competition.
Tetrarch of Galilee and Parea.
Judged Jesus and killed John the Baptist.

Herod Philip I

4 bc - 34 ad

Son of Mariamne II.

High Priests

Hyrcanus II

76 bc - 67 bc

Aristobulus II

67 bc - 63 bc

brother of Hyrcanus II

Hyrcanus II

63 bc - 40 bc


40 bc - 37 bc

takes throne and priesthood with aid of Parthians


37 bc - 36 bc

Friend of Herod, his first appointment to the high priesthood.
From Babylon.

Aristobulus III

36 bc

Grandson of Aristobulus II and Hyrcanus II.
Brother of Mariamne I, Herod's 2nd wife.
Appointed by Herod to appease is mother-in-law Alexandra (daughter of Hyrcanus II)
Murdered by Herod because he feared his popularity. Aristobulus was only 17.


36 bc - 30 bc

Restored to high priesthood after he had Aristobulus III murdered.

Joshua ben Fabus

30 bc - 23 bc

Simon ben Boethus

24 bc - 5 bc

Made high priest by Herod in exchange for his daughter (Mariamne II).

Matthias ben Theophilus

5 bc - 4 bc

Eleazar ben Boethus

4 bc - 3 bc

Joazar ben Boethus

4 bc

Ananus ben Seth

6 ad - 15 ad

Ishmael ben Fabus

15 ad - 16 ad

Eleazar ben Ananus

16 ad - 17 ad

Simon ben Camithus

17 ad - 18 ad

Joseph Caiaphas

18 ad - 36 ad

Roman Rulers

Julius Caesar

49 bc - 44 bc

Civil Wars

44 bc - 31 bc

power shared, but Octavian rises to the top


31 bc - 14 ad


14 ad - 37 ad

Roman procurators of Judea

This Roman province combined Syria and Judea, as requested by the Jews, called Iudeum.


6 ad - 26 ad

Judea made a sub-province under Syria.
Judea becomes subject to Roman taxes and a census.

Pontius Pilate

26 ad - 35 ad

Pilate Procurator

Herod the Great

Herod's Life

74 bc - 4 bc

Some say he was born 71 bc and died 1 bc.

Governor of Galilee

49 bc - 42 bc

Appointed by his father, Antipater at the age of 25. Antiquity, 14.9.2 (see note that says 25, text says 15).
Antipater gains Roman favor by sending them money - J. Caesar Antiquity 14.9.3.
Herod gains a reputation for acting as a "violent and bold man, and very desirous of acting tyrannically" Antiquity 14.9.3.
Herod kills Hezekiah, a murderous bandit. Herod is then charged by the Jewish sanhedrin for murder because a man can only be killed if condemned by the sanhedrin. Herod refused to stand trial before the sanhedrin and, instead, gained (with money) an army from Sextus Caesar (gov. of Syria and relative of J. Caesar). Herod took the army to Jerusalem to take the city by force and kill the sanhedrin members, but was stopped by his dad and brother. Antiquity 14.9.3-5.

Aids Cassius

43 bc - 42 bc

Syria is taken over by those loyal to Cassius and Brutus. Cassius arrives in Syria and orders Antipater and the surrounding governors to raise a large sum of money.
"And because Herod did exact what was required of him from Galilee before others, he was in the greatest favor with Cassius; for he thought it a part of the prudence to cultivate a friendship with the Romans..." Antiquity 14.11.2
Cassius turns control of the army over to Herod, making him general of the forces at Celesyria and gave him a fleet of ships. Cassius also promised Herod he would be made king of Judea after the war.
Antipater is murdered during this time. Antiquity 14.11.4
Herod uses the army entrusted to him to hunt down Malichus, his father's murderer, and put down insurrections in Judea. Antiquity 14.11.5-7.

Herod uses the army to push Antigonus (an heir to the throne) out of Judea and into exile. Antiquity 14.12.1

Tetrarch of Galilee

42 bc - 39 bc

Appointed by Antony b/c of money. Antiquity 14.13.1.

Allied with Antony

42 bc - 30 bc

Herod buys Antony's favor with money. Antiquity 14.12.2
Antony also considered Antipater's friendship with J. Caesar. Antiquity 14.13.1
Antony rules in favor of Herod when Jews accuse Herod. Antony makes Herod tetrarch of Galilee. Antiquity 14.13.1

Engaged to Mariamne I

42 bc

Engages himself to Mariamne I (granddaughter of Hyrcanus II and neice to Antigonus). Antiquity 14.12.1

Parthian Wars

40 bc - 33 bc

Parthians enter Syria. Antigonus promise to give the Parthians 1,000 talents and 500 women if they kill Herod and make Antigonus king in Jerusalem. 14.13.3
Herod earns reputation as a fierce commander 14.13.4. Antigonus takes Jerusalem and captures Hyrcanus and Phasaelus (Herod's brother). Herod escapes and tries to buy Parthian support - fails 14.13.4,5.
Hyrcanus' ears are cut off so he cannot be high priest and sent to Babylon. Phasaelus commits suicide. 14.13.10

Herod flees to Rome

40 bc

Herod flees Judea upon Antigonus' capture of Jerusalem. Leaves most of army at Masada. 14.13.8.
Herod travels from ally to ally (Petra, Arabia 14.13.9; Alexandria, Egypt - Cleopatra welcomes 14.14.2; Pamphylia - where he uses his money to repair the city and build a ship to sail to Rome 14.14.3; Rome - Antony).

Herod fights Antigonus

39 bc - 37 bc

Silo was corrupt and fought for Antigonus or Herod 14.15.3-4.
Ventidius finally summoned Silo and orders him to aid Herod - slaughter of Parthians holed up in caves 14.15.5.
Parthians leave Judea, Herod in turn hurries to Antony at the seige of Samosata. On his way, Herod opens the dangerous road between Syria and Antony. He crushes the raiding forces along the route. Travelers call Herod "their savior and protector" (14.15.8). Antony is elated and greets Herod with great honors and sends Herod back with two legions 14.15.9.
Upon return, Herod finds his brother, Joseph, killed and gains lost 14.15.10. Begins retaking strongholds 14.15.12. Lays siege to Jerusalem with Sossius. Walls breached in 55 days. Romans kill Jews 14.16.2. Asked if "the Romans would empty the city both of money and men, and leave him king of a desert." Stops the destruction of city and temple 14.16.3.
Pays money to Antony to kill Antigonus. Antony complies. 14.16.4

Declared king of the Jews

39 bc

Declaration made by the Roman senate at the urgings of Antony and Octavian. Herod offered Antony money 14.14.4.
Senate declares Antigonus an enemy. Senate decides it is to their advantage to make Herod king because he would fight Antigonus, who was allied with the Parthians, an enemy of Rome. 14.14.4
Ventidius is sent to Syria to drive out the Parthians and then to drive them out of Judea also 14.14.6

Herod plunders Jerusalem

37 bc

to pay off Antony and reward his friends, while punishing his enemies 15.1.2

Ananelus high priest

37 bc

Herod appoints b/c obscure priest from Babylon. Ticks of Alexandra (mother-in-law) who wants her son to be high priest. 15.2.4,5

Hyrcanus II returns

37 bc

at Herod's invitation, and despite warnings from friends to stay away from Herod. 14.16.3-4.

Appoints Aristobulus III high priest

36 bc

to appease wife and mother-in-law 15.3.1
only 17. loved by the people and of royal bloodline 15.3.3

Murders Aristobulus III

35 bc

drowns at a party 15.3.3
designed to look like an accident - feigns mourning over his death, makes a big show with a big funeral 15.3.4.
Alexandra complains to Cleopatra who complains to Antony; Herod is summoned. Herod regained Antony's favor with presents and money. Antony pacified Cleopatra by giving her some territories of Judea 15.3.5, 8.

Joseph executed

35 bc

Joseph, Herod's uncle, is suspected of having at least trying to have an affair with Mariamne I and is killed. Thought about killing his wife, but decided not to. Imprisoned Alexandra at the same time.

Offers Antony military support

32 bc

Antony refused. Told him to attack Arabia instead. 15.5.1

War with Arabia

32 bc - 31 bc

"Herod made the Roman war an occasion of waging his own" 15.5.1
Encouraged to war by Antony.
Easily beat the Arabians, but then he was betrayed by one of Cleopatra's generals and Jews slaughtered 15.5.1.
Battle of Actium. Judea devastated by an earthquake (10k die), so Arabs think Jews would be easy pickings. Herod delivers passionate speech to the Jews to encourage them to fight. Appeals to Jewish nationalism, religious law, God 15.5.2-4.
Herod makes sacrifices according to Jewish law. Jews beat Arabians (kill 5k). Trap remaining (4k captive). Remaining that are trapped rush Jews (kill another 7k). Arabia make Herod their ruler and pays him tribute 15.5.4,5.

Changes allegiance to Octavian

31 bc - 4 bc

Antony defeated at Actium. 15.6.1

Octavian confirms Herod as king of the Jews

30 bc

Herod humbles himself before Caesar and offers him his crown. Said he was not sorry for his friendship with Antony - said he did too little for Antony. Said, "what sort of friend I am, thou wilt find by experience that we shall do and be the same to thyself, for it is but changing the names, and the firmness of friendship that we bear to thee, will not be disapproved by the." 15.6.6 Caesar confirms Herod and king and makes Herod's power more firmly settled than ever.
Herod travels with Caesar to Egypt and gives him presents beyond his ability. When Caesar traveled from Judea to Syria, Herod provided with food, water, and money for the trip. Proved himself fierce friend of Caesar 15.6.7.

Hyrcanus II executed

30 bc

Herod used the Sanhedrin to order the execution.
Josephus claims it was done out of jealousy b/c Hyrcanus the only royal man left. Herod feared he would be executed by Caesar, and did not want Hyrcanus to take the throne after him.
Herod received his opportunity to accuse Hyrcanus when Alexandra prompted Hyrcanus to appeal to Malchus, the gov. of Arabia, to take them in that they might gain power and the throne. Herod intercepted the letter.
Josephus, Antiquities 15.6.1, 2

Trial and Execution of Mariamne I

29 bc

Second wife and mother of Alexander and Aristobulus.
Herod loved her, but became jealous and thought she was having an affair.
His sister, Salome the primary accuser.
Mariamne's mother, Alexandra, accused her at the trial, too. 15.7.4, 5
Herod regrets killing Mariamne. Orders servants to bring her to him (forgetting she was dead). Wept. Went into solitude in deserts and "afflicted himself." 15.7.7

Herod executes family and friends

29 bc

Sohemus, to whom he had entrusted the royal women while he went to Caesar. Feared he had too close of conversation with Mariamne (an affair). Antiquity, 15.7.4
Close friends: Costobarus (Salome's ex-husband on charge of conspiracy) Antiquity, 15.7.9 - 10; Lysimachus and Gadias and Dositheus (the sons of Babas) (friends on charge of same conspiracy) Antiquity, 15.7.8.
Salome turned them in to Herod, Antiquity, 15.7.10.
Rid the kingdom of all those of royal blood (besides his own sons) and "dignity" Antiquity, 15.7.10

Execution of Alexandra

29 bc

Mother-in-law. No trial. Declared herself queen, saying Herod was insane and unfit to rule. 15.7.8

Building projects begin

27 bc

Josephus said Herod began many building projects b/c of the events of the previous year. Herod rejects Jewish laws and customs and begins to embrace Rome, introducing foreign practices and traditions. 15.8.1.
Amphitheatre in the plain
Theatre at Jerusalem
games every fifth year to honor Caesar.
Imitates anything considered magnificent in other nations. Makes inscriptions to honor the works of Caesar. 15.8.1
Jews hate the trophies given at the games - graven images - Herod mocks the trophies and strips them down to wood to appease the Jews 15.8.2.

Assassination attempt foiled

27 bc

10 men displeased with Herod's introduction of foreign practices.
Herod's spy ring discovers the plot. 15.8.3,4.
One of Herod's spies is murdered by the population. Herod tortures witnesses to discover who did it, then kills the killers' entire families 15.8.4


27 bc - 25 bc

Herod blamed for the famine and plague sweeping the country.
Sends his personal furniture to Egypt to buy grain and provides food for the Jews and even sends food to the Syrians. Gains great favor and fame across the known world for his generosity during this time. 15.9.2

Marries Mariamne II

23 bc

makes her dad high priest 15.9.3

Sends sons to Rome

22 bc

At this time, Caesar approves Herod's will and gives him more land: Trachon, Batanea, Auranitis. Trachon to be big problem later. 15.10.1

Herod ousts robbers from Trachon

22 bc

Gadarenes accuse Herod before Agrippa - Agrippa sends them bound to Herod, who releases them.
More Gadarenes emboldened by Herod's light handedness and accuse him before Caesar. These commit suicide when Caesar sided with Herod.
"[Herod was] inexorable in punishing crimes in his own family, but very generous in remitting the offenses that were committed elsewhere." 15.10.3
Herod builds a temple in Trachon in honor of Caesar 15.10.3

Opression of People and Pharisees

21 bc - 4 bc

suspected persons and people of power must swear an oath of allegiance to Herod.
Pharisees refuse. Increases espionage among the population. Increased people's work load. Limits gatherings, even as to eating and walking. Dressed as a commoner himself to spy. Secret and open executions of opposition. Reduces taxes by 1/3 in an attempt to pacify 15.10.4

Herod visits sons and Caesar in Rome

18 bc

16.1.2 Salome begins to become jealous of Alexander and Aristobulus and accuses them before Herod (private)

Herod entertains Agrippa

14 bc

16.2.1-2 shows Agrippa Sebaste and Cesarea, Alexandrium and Herodium, and Hyrcania. Festivals and feasts for Agrippa. Herod gives Agrippa expensive gifts.
16.2.2 Herod sails after Agrippa. Stays in Chius and rebuilds the city. Helps every city he visits out of his own treasury.
16.2.3 Asian Jews appeal to Agrippa against Greeks. Agrippa upholds Jewish law among them, even in Asian cities, for which the Jews and Herod are very grateful (16.2.4).
16.2.5 Herod cancels 1/4 of taxes on people.

Antipater made heir

13 bc

16.3.1 Salome begins accusing Alexander and Aristobulus more intensely. Wants all of Mariamne I's kids dead.
16.3.3 Herod brings his eldest son, Antipater, and first wife to court. Makes Antipater heir in his will. Hopes to whip Alexander and Aristobulus into shape with this competition. Made it worse - Antipater is determined to eliminate his competition. Herod takes Antipater to the Roman royal court.
16.4.1 From Rome, Antipater begins sending letters to Herod to raise Herod's suspicions against Alexander and Aristobulus.

Trachon revolts

12 bc


Herod accuses his sons

12 bc

16.4.1 Herod's suspicions so strong he sails for Rome to accuse his sons, Alexander and Aristobulus, before Caesar.

16.4.2 Upon accusation, his two sons begin to weep in shock and confusion at the accusations. Herod moved. Alexander makes a defense and appeals to his father.
16.4.4 Caesar tells Herod to reconcile. Said the sons were foolish in their demeanor, but that they were not to be feared. The three hug and make up
16.4.5 Caesar give Herod revenues from copper mines and lets him choose whom he will to succeed Herod.
16.4.6 Herod says Antipater to be chief, but that all three sons will inherit kingdom.

Cesarea finished

12 bc

16.5.1 festivals and gladiatorial games to honor Caesar.
"Caesar and Agrippa often said that the dominion of Herod was too little for the greatness of his soul; for that he deserved to have both all the kingdom of Syria, and that of Egypt also."

War with Trachonites

10 bc - 8 bc

16.9.1 Trachonite robbers take refuge with the governor of Arabia, Sylleus - who had wanted to marry Salome. Robbers raid Judea, causing a lot of damage and death. The Arabians refuse to turn them over, so Herod marched into Trachonitis and killed their families. The Arabs also owed Herod money and refused to pay even though they had been ordered to do so by a Roman court.
16.9.2 Because Arabia refused to pay the money or deliver the raiders as the Roman court had ordered, Herod received permission from the Roman governors of Syria to take it by force. Crushed the raiders' stronghold. The Arabians came to defend the raiders, Herod defeated them too, but with only about 20 deaths to the Arabians.
16.9.3 Sylleus was in Rome and accused Herod before Caesar, saying he attacked a peaceful Arabia and killed 2500 citizens. Caesar furious and refused to hear Herod's ambassadors.

Herod's suspicions increase

9 bc

16.8.1 Herod subjects a eunuch to torture, gets a confession against Alexander.
16.8.2 Herod increases spies and issues threats against servants, who begin accusing one another to avoid suspicion of themselves. Herod executes many before he catches on that he is killing innocents.
16.8.3 Herod begins expelling friends in paranoia
16.8.3 Antipater fueling the paranoia. Herod increases torture of suspects, gains confessions against Alexander - imprisons Alexander. Herod tortures Alexander's friends.

16.8.5 Alexander sends a confession to Herod in order to stop the torture and murder of his friends. Herod's paranoia increases so that he sees things (sons trying to kill him, etc.)
16.8.6 Archelaus (king of Cappadocia and father-in-law of Alexander) humors Herod in order to appease Herod and gain Alexander's release.

raid on King David's tomb

9 bc

16.7.1 because Herod's expenses were so large, he decided to attempt to rob King David's tomb of any money in it. He does not find any money to steal, but a couple of his guards are killed by traps designed to protect the body.
16.7.2 Antipater increases his plot against Alexander and Aristobulus.
16.7.3 Salome uses her daughter, Bernice (the wife of Aristobulus), as a spy to obtain information to use against Alexander and Aristobulus
16.7.4 Pheroras, Herod's brother, secretly tells Alexander that Herod wants Alexander's wife for himself in an attempt to estrange the two. Herod becomes wise to his actions. Pheroras blames Salome - Herod disgusted with both.

Herod reconciled to Caesar

8 bc

16.10. 8 his ambassador gained a hearing with Caesar by accusing Sylleus. Had letters and witnesses (from Arabia) against Sylleus and his lies. Caesar convinced.
16.10.9 Caesar condemned Sylleus to death. Was going to give Arabia to Herod, but then Caesar received the letters from Herod accusing his sons, and changed his mind.

Herod accuses sons of treason

8 bc

16.10.3, 4 Herod tortures people and gets confessions that Alexander trying to kill Herod
16.11.1 Herod convinces Caesar to hear his case against Alexander and Aristobulus
16.11.2 150 gather to hear the case. Herod accused his sons alone, did not admit evidence or allow his sons near the trial. Demands judgment in his favor based on his word as a king alone.
16.11.3 the assessors realize there is no room for reconciliation and confirm Herod's authority to do with his sons as he sees fit. Herod returns to Cesarea unsure whether he will kill them or not.

Antipater intensifies plot against Herod

7 bc

17.1.1 People hate Antipater for inciting Herod against the royal sons. Antiapater buys Herod's friends: local, Rome, pres. of Syria.

Herod executes sons

7 bc

16.11.5 Herod tortures officers of the army and gains confessions of Tero (a commander) and Alexander plotting against Herod.

16.11.7 Herod takes 300 officers and Tero and has the multitude stone them all to death. Herod orders Alexander and Aristobulus taken to Sebaste where they were strangled to death.

Antipater, Pheroras, and Pharisees join forces

6 bc

17.2.4 Salome refused to join the plot, but decided to tell Herod about it. The Pharisees are fined, but Pheroras' wife (whom Salome and Herod had told Pheroras to divorce) paid their fine for them. Herod, in turn, killed many pharisees and their families.
17.3.3 Herod and Pheroras become estranged. Pheroras promises to never look at Herod again and stay in his own territory. Herod softer.

Antipater's plot is discovered and he is executed

5 bc

17.4.1 Pheroras very sick, Herod visits. Pheroras dies. Herod told Pheroras' wife poisoned her husband.
17.4.2 It came out that the poison was not for Pheroras, but for Herod. Pheroras' wife is questioned. She confessed it was true, but that when Pheroras saw Herod come to visit, he changed his mind and made his wife destroy the poison. Mariamne II said to be in on plot - Herod divorces and blots her son from will. Appoints new high priest.
17.4.3 Antipater sends a second poison from Rome. The messenger is caught with the potion and a letter
17.5.4 Antipater says accusations no good b/c of torture - Herod wavers.
17.5.5 Herod's friend Nicolaus picks up the charges and even says Antipater guilty of his brother's deaths.
17.5.6 More join in testimony against Antipater.
17.5.7 Poison brought before the court, proves fatal.
17.5.8 More letters arrive from Rome - prove Antipater guilty
17.7.7 Antipater plots against Herod even in jail. Herod executed.

Sedition against Herod

4 bc

17.6.2 Religious Jews upset about golden eagle set up in temple. Graven image - illegal. Judas and Matthias convince pious Jews to tear it down and destroy it.
17.6.3 the two leaders and 40 young men are caught in the act.
"we will undergo death,and all sorts of punishments which though canst inflict upon us, with pleasure, since we are conscious to ourselves that we shall die, not for an unrighteous action, but for our love to religion"
17.6.3 Herod replies that he is on God's side and that this sedition was against God b/c the eagle was dedicated to God. Said they were guilty of sacrilege.
17.6.4 Removes the high priest and replaces with Joazar.
Judas and Matthias and the 40 are burned alive.

Lunar eclipse that night.

Herod rages against the people

4 bc

17.6.5 arrests the nation's Jewish leaders. Tells Salome to kill them all when he dies so the nation will remember and mourn the day of his death

Herod dies

4 bc

17.8.1 appoints Archelaus as heir with Antipas and Philip as tetrarchs.
17.8.2 Salome lets the Jewish leaders go.

Building Projects


27 bc

15.8.5 rebuilds Samaria, renames Sebaste. Designed to be a fortress for himself against the people

Amphitheatre and Theatre

27 bc

15.8.1 used for games every fifth year to honor Caesar


23 bc

builds palace in Jerusalem. Fortified. dedicates some of its apartments to Caesar and Agrippa. 15.9.3


22 bc - 12 bc

builds harbor there. dedicates towers to Caesar's relatives. dedicates the city to Caesar. builds theatre and ampitheatre there too. a temple with two statues - one to Rome, the other to Caesar. 15.9.6

Jewish Temple

20 bc - 10 bc

had to convince the Jews to let him tear down the old to build the new. had all the money allocated and supplies ready before the Jews would let him do it. The temple itself was built by priests so it would b holy, per Jewish custom. 15.11.1-6

More cities built

9 bc

16.5.2 Antipatris, Cyprus, Phasaelus named after his dad, mom, and brother


7 bc

17.2.1 City built in Trachonitis to secure influence and maintain an military presence - secure against insurrection.
17.2.2 Herod gives the fortress to a Babylonian Jew and his private army. The region is exempt from taxes.