ENTRANCE TO HEROD'S TOMB
The tombs at Herodium are built into the side of the hill
The tomb, which contained the sarcophagus of Herod the Great and two unnamed members of his family, was a lavish two-storey structure with a cone-shaped roof about 25 meters high.
At present, no-one knows who was buried in the two other sarcophagi, but it is tempting to think that one of them was for beautiful, aristocratic Mariamme.
Herod, supposedly jealous and paranoid, had her strangled for infidelity - but was it jealousy, or political expedience?
He is said to have regretted his action, and had her body preserved in honey. It could be that her honeyed corpse found its final rest at Herodium.
The Jewish historian Josephus gives a graphic account of the disease which led to King Herod's own death:
'Herod's distemper greatly increased upon him after a sever manner: a fire glowed in him slowly, which did not so much appear to the touch outwardly as it augmented his pains inwardly; for it brought upon him a vehement appetite for eating which he could not avoid to supply with one sort of food or another. His entrails were also exulcerated, and the chief violence of his pain lay in his colon; an aqueous and transparent liquor also had settled itself about his feet, and a like matter afflicted him at the bottom of his belly. Nay, farther, his privy member was putrefied and produced worms; and except when he sat upright he had a difficulty of breathing, which was very loathsome, on account of the stench of his breath, and the quickness of its returns; he had also convulsions in all parts of his body, which increased his strength to an insufferable degree.' (Antiquities of the Jews, XVII, 6, 5)
A medical doctor, Mr Norman Manson, made the following comment:
'Josephus paints a vivid picture of the dying Herod's physical condition, which is not an unusual one...
Other Online Bible Websites
Study famous and historical people, places, artwork and archaelogy of the Holy Bible online.
For more online Bible study resources and activities, visit the following websites:
www.bible-people.info - stories of the Bible's most famous men and women - Moses, Judas, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene and more
www.womeninthebible.net - all about Bible women, good and bad: Ruth, Deborah, Mary of Nazareth, Jezebel
www.bible-archaeology.info - archaeological evidence and the Bible - what can we prove?
http://www.bible-art.info/ - Bible paintings and artworks: Nativity, Resurrection, Esther, Martha and Mary
http://www.bible-topten.com/ - Top Ten heroes, bad women, ways to hell, young people, villains, murders, films
http://www.bible-architecture.info/ - more about houses, palaces, temples and fortresses
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