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Herod the Great’s Self-Representation Through His Tomb at Herodium

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author:
Jodi Magness University of North Carolina

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In 2007, the late Ehud Netzer announced the discovery of the mausoleum of Herod the Great at Herodium. This paper considers Herod’s self-representation through his tomb at Herodium, which consists of a mausoleum on the side of a massive artificial tumulus that was planned by Herod as his final resting place and everlasting memorial. Comparisons with the lost Mausoleum of Alexander in Alexandria, the Philippeion at Olympia, and the Mausoleum of Augustus at Rome indicate that Herod intended Herodium to serve as a royal, dynastic monument and victory memorial situating him within a line of heroic and deified kings, while the site’s location overlooking Bethlehem visually asserted Herod’s claims to have fulfilled the expectations associated with a Davidic messiah.

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