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Monobaz I and II

MONOBAZ I AND II, two kings of *Adiabene in the first century, C.E. Monobaz I was both brother and husband of Queen *Helena. His attitude to Judaism is unknown, but in view of the fact that his sister-wife and their son Izates both became converts to Judaism, it is highly probable that he was sympathetic to it. Monobaz I and Helena had a son, Monobaz, who was older than his brother Izates, but when Monobaz I died, Helena, in accordance with the king's testament, placed Izates upon the throne. Monobaz II was loyal to his younger brother and like him embraced Judaism. He succeeded Izates to the throne. Little is known of Monobaz II. Josephus, who is the main source, relates that he sent the remains of his mother and brother to Jerusalem for burial, and that he erected a palace in Jerusalem, which was called by his name (Wars 5:252). Many of his kinsmen took part with distinction in the war against the Romans (Wars 2:520). Though Josephus features Izates as the chief figure among the converts to Judaism of the Adiabene royal dynasty, the account of Monobaz II in the talmudic literature makes a deeper impression, highlighting his generosity to the people of Jerusalem and the Temple, his righteousness, and his wisdom. His circumcision and that of his brother are also mentioned.


Yoma 3:10; BB 11a; Tosef., Yoma 2:3; Gen. R. 46:10; Jos., Ant. 20:17–96; Derenbourg, Hist, 224–7; Schuerer, Gesch, 3 (19094), 169–72; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 5 (19512), 44–49.

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