Category:Herod Antipas (subject)

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Herod Antipas (Home Page)
Herod Antipas (Home Page)

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Herod Antipas (1st century CE) was a member of the Herodian family, the son of Herod the Great and tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE to 39 CE.

< Events : John the Baptist Reproaching Herod Antipas -- Beheading of John the Baptist -- Trial of Jesus before Herod Antipas >

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Herod Antipas -- Overview
Herod Antipas -- Overview

Herod Antipas was one of the sons of Herod the Great and Malthace. Herod Archelaus and Olympias were his siblings. Antipas and his brother had to compete with a large number of half-brothers, namely, Antipater II, Alexandros, Aristobulus IV, Herod Boethus, and Herod Philip, for the succession to Herod the Great. Herod Antipas survived the intrigues and the purges, and at the death of Herod the Great in 4 BCE was appointed tetrarch of Galilee and Perea.

Antipas' first wife was Phasaelis, the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea. After his accession to the throne, Antipas divorced her in favor of Herodias, who was his niece and was married to his brother Herod Boethus. The new marriage was sharply criticized by religious circles and fueled opposition among his subjects. The tetrarch's divorce also added a personal grievance to previous disputes with Aretas IV over territory on the border of Perea and Nabatea. The result was a war that proved disastrous for Herod Antipas.

Ancient sources directly relate Herod Antipas to the death of John the Baptist, who was arrested and beheaded. Less clear is Herod Antipas's relation with Jesus of Nazareth. Only Luke-Acts suggests that Herod Antipas played a role in the trial and execution of Jesus; see Trial of Jesus before Herod Antipas.

In 39 CE Herod Antipas was accused by his nephew (and his wife's brother) Herod Agrippa of conspiracy against the new Roman emperor Caligula, who sent him into exile in Gaul. Accompanied there by Herodias, he died at an unknown date.



The writings of Flavius Josephus are the main source of information about the life and deeds of Herod Antipas. References to this character can be found also in the Gospels, since both John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth were his subjects and carried out their public careers mostly in his territories.


Herod Antipas, with Herodias and Salome, is present in all fictional retellings of the story of the death of John the Baptist. Less frequently his figure is associated with Jesus of Nazareth. In both narratives Herod Antipas is a prominent figure, although very seldom is given a memorable role, like the one played by Josh Mostel in Jesus Christ Superstar (1973 Jewison), film.

Gabriele Boccaccini, University of Michigan

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