Herod I or Herod the Great, was a
Roman client-king of Judaea (c. 74 BC – c.
5, 4 or 1 BC in Jerusalem). The details of
his biography can seen in the Book of the
Jewish Historian Josephus in addition to the
Gospel of Matthew. Herod the Great's son,
Herod Antipas (who is also called Herod) is
even more prominently featured in the New
Testament for his role in John the Baptist's
arrest and execution.
Massacre of the
King Herod the Great ordered the
execution of all young male children in
the village of Bethlehem, so as to avoid
the loss of his throne to a newborn "King
of the Jews", whose birth had been
related to him by magi.
Matthew 2:13 Arise, and take the young child
and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be
I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the
young child to destroy him.
Founded by King Herod
in the first century BCE on the site of a Phoenician
and Greek trade
post known as Strato’s Tower, Caesarea
was named for Herod’s Roman patron, Augustus
Caesar. This city was described in detail by
the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. (Antiquities
XV. 331 ff; War I, 408 ff) It was a walled
city, with the largest harbor on the eastern
Mediterranean coast, named Sebastos, the Greek
name of the emperor Augustus.
The temple of the city, dedicated to Augustus
Caesar, was built on a high podium facing the
harbor. A broad flight of steps led from the
pier to the temple. Public buildings and elaborate
entertainment facilities in the imperial tradition
were erected. King Herod’s palace was
in the southern part of the city.
A description of both Caesarea's buildings
and harbour is found in Josephus's The Jewish
War (Book I, 408-415). Recent digs have largely
confirmed his description of a splendid city
in white stone (quarried from nearby hills).
Josephus's knowledge that huge stone blocks
were piled into the sea to lay the harbour's
foundations also proved to be correct.
More information on Caesarea
Masada was the mountain fortress constructed
by King Herod that was occupied by Jewish rebels
after the Jewish revolt in the first century.
The rebels defended themselves from a Roman
army for months. When it appeared that the
Romans would finally conquer the fortress hundreds
of rebels committed suicide rather than be
taken prisoner by the Romans. Although this
fort is not mentioned in the Bible it does
give insight into the Roman military method
as well as the life of King Herod and his construction.
Matthew 2:1 Now
when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days
Herod the King
Acts 23:33 Who,
when they came to Caesarea,
and delivered the epistle
to the governor,
presented Paul also before him.