Tuesday, May 08, 2007

King Herod and his tomb

Herod the Great (or the Wicked) was the last independent king of ancient Judea before that province was taken over by the Romans upon his death in 4 BCE. He was a megalomaniac who killed much of his own family out of paranoia and built or rebuilt huge structures that still survive: Masada, the Herodion, and the Second Temple in Jerusalem (parts of which survived its destruction by the Romans in 70). Each one topped the last as the largest public works project of classical antiquity.

Israeli archaeologist and Hebrew University professor Ehud Netzer has confirmed that the large structure on a hill near Bethlehem (part of the Herodion complex) that has been under excavation for decades is in fact Herod's tomb. You can view a public photo essay here.

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