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  • Writer's pictureMichel Kahn

The unforgettable dead of Herod the Great?

Updated: May 5, 2021

Let's start from the end, nobody really knows how Herod died.

In his early 70's, he was very sick and felt his end coming. He wanted to be remembered as one of the Phanteonic Kings of Judea, preparing his own funeral with glamour and glitter. Although he was not sure that his orders would be followed. Archelaus his son was in charge of the entombment. The King expected large parts of the population of Judea to celebrate his death, to dance and sing in the streets. To prevent that from happening he gathered part of the Sanhedrin, which is the wise council, in his courtyard and gave the order to execute all of them, so that people will mourn, if not for him, for them. After his death his orders were not respected and executed. Quite surprisingly, many people mourned King Herod. Josephus (the Historian) mentions in his book: “a very large cortege from Jericho till the Herodion half-day march of the troops marched in front, armed, and in orderly array, led by their commanders and subordinate officers; behind these came five hundred of Herod’s servants and freedmen, carrying spices. The body was thus conveyed for a distance of two hundred furlongs (25 miles) to Herodion, where, in accordance with the directions of the deceased, it was interred. So ended Herod’s reign.”

                                                                                                      Jewish Wars, 1,23,9''.

ONLY in 2007 Herod’s mausoleum was discovered on the eastern slope of the Herodium by Professor Ehud Netzer.

The Herodion National Park is an impressive archaeological site, containing the remains of both a palace-fortress and a small town.

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