Herod the Great who ruled Judea from 40 until 4 B.C.E., built extensively and for many purposes, such as residences, assembly halls, fortresses, temples, and monuments. He often employed the latest technologies of his time period, and brought many styles and new forms of architecture and art to Judea from Roman and Hellenistic worlds. In addition to diverse architectural influences, Herod also brought influence from the west through his relationships with the Roman elite: specifically Marcus Antonius, Octavian, and Marcus Agrippa. At the same time Herod was maintaining these relationships, he was also ruling a predominantly Jewish population, which led to continuing tension in his kingdom. Archaeologically, these relationships, tensions, and influences are still visible in his architecture. Herod’s palace complexes and other building projects contain hydraulic installations: bathhouses, pools, aqueducts, and fountains that combine Roman, Hellenistic and Palestinian features. Herod’s bathhouses included Jewish ritual baths, called mikva’ot. In the religious tradition of the Israelites, it is necessary to have a pool or bath of clear water for immersing one’s body in order to become not physically, but spiritually clean. By examining these mikva’ot we can begin to determine how Jewish is Herod the Great.
Kimberly Jones, ’03 Thornton, CO
Majors: Classical Studies, Religion
Sponsor: John Gruber-Miller