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HERODIAS (first century C.E.), daughter of Aristobulus, the son of *Herod I and *Mariamne the Hasmonean. Herodias was married to Herod, son of Herod I and Mariamne II, to whom she bore a daughter, *Salome. After 31 C.E. Herodias was divorced from her first husband and married his brother, Herod Antipas. The marriage aroused the anger of the people, because Jewish law forbade a man to marry his brother's divorced wife (see Lev. 18:6). John the Baptist, leader of those who opposed the marriage (Mark 6: 17–18; Matt. 14: 34; Luke 3:18–20), was seized by Antipas, who imprisoned him in *Machaerus in Transjordan, and later ordered him to be executed. One cause apparently was his fear of the messianic movement which John had stirred up among the people. There is no historical foundation to the New Testament story according to which John was killed at the request of Salome the young daughter of Herodias by her first marriage after Antipas had undertaken to grant anything she requested as a reward for her dancing at his birthday celebration. After Agrippa I became king (c. 40 C.E.) Herodias persuaded her husband to go to Rome to request a royal crown for himself from Caligula. As a result of Agrippa's slanders, however, Antipas was exiled to Lugdunum (Lyons?) in Gaul and his fortune given to Agrippa, brother of Herodias. Although the emperor permitted Herodias to return to her home, she chose to accompany her husband into exile.


Jos., Ant., 18:240–55; Matt. 14:3ff.; Mark 6:17ff.; Luke 3:19ff.; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 4 (19502), 193ff.; Schuerer, Hist, index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: N. Kokkinos, The Herodian Dynasty: Origins, Role in Society and Eclipse (1998); S. Gibson, The Cave of John the Baptist (2004), 242–44.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.