Herod the Great
Herod I (c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman Jewish client king of Judea, 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, 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.
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 that this event occurred.
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- Go and get accurate information about the child. As soon as you have found him, report to me, so that I too may go & honor him.
- Matthew 2:8 (Christian Community Bible:Catholic Pastoral edition)
- In popular memory, Herod is inevitably associated with the Massacre of the Innocents. He also killed his wife, three sons and numerous opponents. Yet, he was the successful ruler of a kingdom that provided stability in a turbulent region and one of the great builders of his age, erecting fortresses, palaces, and entire cities. He lived in the shadow of the Romans, who installed and maintained him in power.
- Clive Foss, The Tyrants: 2,500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006), p. 24