Herod was an influential character in both the Christian bible and roman records. In he Christian history one of the first stories about Jesus Christ how his family was forced to leave because a dictatorial king had ordered the massacre of children in his dynasty. According to the bible tit was king Herod who had done that barbaric thing. Herod (c.73-4bce) was the king of Judea, it was a Jewish state that existed as a vassal of Rome. Appointed by the romans, the role of Herod was to bring peace and prosperity in the Roman empire. He was being remembered in the history for his cruelty for the Christian and Jewish. but apart from that he has some legacy which has been overlooked by the historians. He was a great ruler and a builder of big sculptures in the Judea he was considered as the most faithful friend of the romans. That enables the romans to rule over the Jewish and Christian people in the world.
Herod was the son of the Antipater; he was the man who had been given the charge to control the Judea after the roman general Pompey conquered the territory. In 47BCE, Antipater named his son as the governor galilee, this position brings him in the roman political circles. The romans realized this man will be the efficient man to rule over the Jewish Herod took this opportunity and inherited his father’s position in the growing empire of the romans when his father Antipater was assassinated.
In 40BCE, the Parthians seized Jerusalem and a new king was placed for the kingdom in the Judea. This led Herod to move to Rome where he make friendship with the roman emperor Mark Antony and Octavian. there he was named as the roman appointed king of Judea and was supported with roman army to help him regain the control of Jerusalem. This support from Rome has made Herod as the most faithful king of the Romans and he used to follow all the instructions of the romans and that make him as the cruelest emperor in the Judea. As soon as Herod won the war against the Parthians he was recognized as the sole ruler of roman Judea.
During the reign of Herod, it was observed that the Jewish people does not believe Herod was like his father a practicing Jew who honored the Jewish god and respected Jewish holidays and customs. Herod was not by origin a Jewish his mother was an Arabian and in Jewish customs ethnic identity is passed through the mother’s side. In addition to that he was deeply connected to the romans and this made the Jewish people to suspect him and does not respect Herod. The Jewish were very harshly treated by the king and he started to impose strict rules against the Jewish people.
With the romans being the main ruler Herod follow their instructions and started to torture the innocent Jewish people. The Jewish people being tired of that torture identified a messiah who will protect them from the romans and will become the real king of Judea. According to the book of the Mathew in the Christian bible, Herod was informed that the savior of the Jewish was born in a small town of Bethlehem and hearing that information Herod ordered to kill all the children in Bethlehem who are less than 2 years of old. This decision of Herod makes him the cruelest king in the history. The so called slaughter of the innocents was moment of sorrow for the Jewish and make them angrier against the king Herod.
During his reign Herod not only take cruel decisions but also do some constructive work to improve the condition of Judea. Herod tried to rebuild Jerusalem by adding various big sculptures in the roman style and also build some great amphitheaters. Its very important to keep it in mind that the romans believed that the best method to suppress the protest of the rebels was to construct more big buildings and sculpture and there by keeping the common people in the thought that the emperor was doing these things for the benefit of the common people. The romans believed that the infrastructural development will suppress the rebel from protesting and that will lead the rulers to rule peacefully and without nay problem.
Inspired by the romans Herod also applied the same policy and started to construct big theatres and amphitheaters in Jerusalem. Herod also tried to oversaw the building of a new harbor along the coast as well as seven additional fort across the kingdom. These constructive decisions of Herod proved that he not only tortured the Jewish but he also done some good work that created impact on the economic development of Jerusalem.
Herod endowed his realm with big fortress and splendid cities of which one was the port of Caesarea Palestine on the coast between Joppa and Haifa which was later become the capital of the roman Palestine, and another one is the Sebastes that is located on the long desolate site of the ancient Samaria. Herod build a great palace in the Judean desert which archaeologists identified as the site of his tomb. In Jerusalem he built the fortress of Antonia, portions of which may still be seen beneath the convents on the via dolorosa, and a magnificent palace. The most marvelous creation of Herod was the temple which he totally reconstructed.
In his last days Herod suffered from arteriosclerosis. He had to prevent a revolt for which he had to fight with his Nabataea neighbors and for that reason the romans started to stop favoring him. He was in great pain and in mental and physical disorder. He had to change his will thrice and finally he disinherited and killed his firstborn Antipater. The decision of slaying the children of Bethlehem was wholly consistent with the disarray into which he had fallen. After an unsuccessful attempt to suicide Herod died. His final will state that with the sanction of the roman emperor Augustus his emperor will be divided among his sons Achelous should be the king of Judaea and Samaria, with Philip and Antipas sharing the remainder as tetrarchs.
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