Herodion


By Dr. Randall Smith
Courtesy of Christian Travel Study Programs, Ltd.

After the Hasmonean (Maccabean) Dynasty collapsed into civil war, Herod - with Roman support - became absolute ruler of Judea. Josephus Flavius, 1st century historian, recorded that Herod decided to ensure his rule and personal safety by building himself a luxurious private palace. The spot he picked was near Jerusalem, on the edge of the Judean desert.

This palace was to become a monumental tomb, which would dominate the landscape and rise prominently along the desert horizon.

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By Dr. Randall Smith
Courtesy of Christian Travel Study Programs, Ltd.

After the Hasmonean (Maccabean) Dynasty collapsed into civil war, Herod – with Roman support – became absolute ruler of Judea. Josephus Flavius, 1st century historian, recorded that Herod decided to ensure his rule and personal safety by building himself a luxurious private palace. The spot he picked was near Jerusalem, on the edge of the Judean desert.

This palace was to become a monumental tomb, which would dominate the landscape and rise prominently along the desert horizon. Shaped like a cone, with four towers geometrically situated on a north-south east-west axis, Herod erected both a towering palace and a private city; an aqueduct brought water from springs dozens of kilometers away to the complex’s huge water cisterns and pools.

Upon Herod’s death, Josephus reports that he was brought to Herodion – the king’s name for his private palace, fortress and tomb. But the location of the tomb remains a mystery to this day.

During the two great Jewish revolts against Rome, in 66-73 AD and again in 132-135 AD, Herodion became headquarters for the forces rebelling against Rome. Defensive tunnels dating to the later revolt, once discovered, were opened to the public.

© Christian Travel Study Programs, Ltd.

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