ANTIPATER II or ANTIPAS (d. 43 B.C.E.), governor of Edom in the time of Alexander Yannai and Salome Alexandra, son of Antipater I, and father of *Herod . Josephus states that Antipater I belonged to a distinguished Edomite family, the members of which had embraced Judaism in the days of John Hyrcanus. The statement of the historian, Nicholas of Damascus, that the family was descended from Jews who had returned from the Babylonian Exile is denied by Josephus. The Church Fathers give differing accounts of his origins. Eusebius states that Antipater was the son of a female slave in Ashkelon, that he was kidnapped as a child and carried off to Idumea where he was brought up as a Jew after the forced conversion of the Edomites in the reign of John Hyrcanus. It is probable that Josephus' account is to be preferred. Josephus depicts Antipater II as an ally of *Hyrcanus , son of Alexander Yannai, and as an opponent of the latter's brother *Aristobulus . Aristobulus was dependent on the military aristocracy which was directly opposed to Edomite influence. Even before the death of Salome Alexandra, Aristobulus had attempted to put his supporters in key governmental positions and this certainly aroused opposition. It seems clear, too, that Antipater feared that his position would be endangered in the event of Aristobulus coming to power. When Aristobulus drove Hyrcanus from the throne, Antipater, with Nabatean help, won a victory over Aristobulus who was forced to retreat to the Temple Mount. In return for their assistance Antipater promised to restore to the Nabateans 12 cities conquered by Alexander Yannai. Although Scaurus, one of Pompey's generals, intervened on the side of Aristobulus, Antipater's political position was not substantially changed, for he had previously been the mediator between the Romans and the Nabateans and had negotiated the reparations that the latter were to pay to Rome. During the rebellions of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, Antipater supported the Roman governor Gabinius
and held the position of "agent" or, according to another version, "overseer" of taxes in Judea. After Julius Caesar's defeat of Pompey, Antipater immediately aligned himself with the victor, and hastened to recruit Jewish and Nabatean soldiers to fight for him. He prevailed upon the Jews of Egypt to support Caesar, thus hastening his triumph over Egypt. When Caesar went to Syria in 47 B.C.E., he appointed Antipater regent of Judea, rejecting Mattathias Antigonus' claims to the throne of his fathers. Antipater thus became, in effect, the ruler of Judea, a position of power which he freely exercised. He gave his sons the most important offices of state: *Phasael was appointed governor of Jerusalem while Herod was sent to Galilee. With the arrival of Cassius in Syria, to wage war against Caesar's successors, Antipater placed himself at his disposal. He and his sons, Herod in particular, tried to raise the huge sums that Cassius required in the country. In 43 B.C.E. Antipater was poisoned but his policies were continued by his sons. Antipater was a cautious statesman who never presumed to act independently of his master, Hyrcanus, despite the fact that the government of the state was wholly in his hands.
Jos., Ant., 14; Jos., Wars, 1; Juster, Juifs, 1 (1914), 135 ff.; Schuerer, Gesch, 1 (19014), 291 ff.; R. Laqueur, Der juedische Historiker Flavius Josephus (1920), 148 ff.; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 3 (19502), 215–7, 240–1, 251–7; A. Schalit, Hordos ha-Melekh (19643), 13 ff.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.