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Salome of Northern Israel

(c. 1st century BCE)

Salome was the daughter of Herodias, but was better known for her relationship with her stepfather, Herod Antipas (son of Herod I). She was considered to be one of the most beautiful women throughout the kingdom.

Salome was also talented in the art of belly dancing and she was adored at her stepfather's birthday celebration where she danced for all of the guests. Herod Antipas promised to grant Salome any of her wishes.

According to legend and the New Testament, Salome wished for the death of John the Baptist. Herod Antipas was hesitant to kill this religious leader, but he could not refuse his stepdaughter's request.

Salome of Northern Israel remains famous today both for her alleged responsibility in the beheading of John the Baptist, and also for her style of dance. Salome's particular method of erotic dancing has been taught around the world. Also, Salome was immortalized through Oscar Wilde's play, Salome. Wilde wrote a one act play paralleling the dances of Salome with the tragedy of John the Baptist.

Sources: Taitz, Emily, Sondra Henry, Cheryl Tallan. TheJPS Guide to Jewish Women. PA: Jewish Publication Society of America, 2003.