Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Archaeologists Discover Tomb (maybe) of King Herod the Great

Archaeologists from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem believe that they may have found the burial site of King Herod the Great who ruled Judaea as a Roman client from 74 to 4 B.C.E. Excavations at Herodium, a lavish palace complex Herod built for himself in the present-day Palestinian West Bank.

Herod is famous for ordering the massacre of infants in Bethlehem while trying to find the infant Jesus. However, as was noted above, Herod died in 4 B.C.E./B.C. (Before Christ); though this is likely due to the errors in devising the Christian calendar centuries later.
Herod also ordered the expansion (and really reconstruction) of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, creating one of the ancient world's great Hellenistic-style structures. This temple was destroyed in 70 C.E. after the Jewish revolt which had been taken over by the Sicarii Zealots, known as such for the knives they carried which they used to assassinate Jewish leaders deemed traitors. A Roman army under Vespasian and his son Titus Flavius beseiged the city and eventually sacked and burned the temple to the ground. Before Roman troops entered the city, according to accounts from Josephus and other historians of the period, the Zealots had begun murdering their rivals during the city's defense.

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