Herod the Great: Scoundrel, Survivor, Genius


israel-2013-aerial_21-masada The rocky hilltop fortress of Masada in the Judean desert was one of Herod’s personal achievements. Built as a palace compound between 37 and 31 B.C., the mountaintop retreat would be remembered in history for the Jewish nationalists who took refuge there during the revolt against Roman rule in the 70s A.D. Photo from Wikimedia Commons 

If you are like most people, you hear the name „Herod“ and immediately think of the villain of the Christmas story. But historically, the First Century B.C. Judean king was also one of the world’s greatest builders. Herod the Great was the subject of this year’s 9th Annual Archaeology Discovery Weekend at La Sierra University in Riverside, which brings together some of the world’s leading researchers and historians of Near Eastern antiquities. 

History has not been kind to King Herod. In Christianity, his name is synonymous with the tyrant’s slaughter of the children in…

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