SALOME and HERODIAS, A Curious Mother’s Day Story, Part 2 of 2 Parts

First, a disclaimer:

This article requires information about John the Baptist, whose life and works and words are holy, divinely inspired, to Christians. The sources I’ve accessed are religious, historical, literary, exegetic, and anecdotal. In order to avoid disrespect for the sacredness of the words and concepts with which Christians hold The Gospels and with which Jews hold The Torah, I’ve renamed both ‘translated redactions.’ I also use the euphemism, مكتب ترجمة monotheistic god, to avoid any disrespect to any deity and religion. This is an essay designed to entertain and inform you, Dear Reader, not to cause any religious discussion or foment.

Second, a thank you:

To friend Pam and friend Vanessa, both of whom got my research juices going on Salome, whom, I believed, was trivial, too trivial even for our newsletter. It boiled down to “Who did she do the belly dance for?” I hadn’t a clue, because I didn’t think she was real. They both assured me she was a real person. I checked it out. Yup, she was real and…
To discover how the belly dance became associated with Salome, tienda de adultos we have to veer away from her. It’s Herodias and John who carry the story line forward.

At the time of the banquet, Herodias was the 2nd wife of Antipas, and they had been married for about 10 years. (Antipas was the only father Salome had known.) Salome’s biological father was Phillip, who was King of Judea, a large land mass, much larger than the area called The Galilee, and he and Herodias were divorced when Salome was about 1 year old. Herodias had been an important wife when Phillip was first made King by Rome because of her Maccabean blood. The Maccabees had been rulers of Judea long before Phillip came on board, but through a lot of circumstances, Judea was ruled by the Herod bunch and had accepted Rome’s yoke by that time. The Maccabees were prolific (as was Herod The Great), and there was a large pool of eligible Maccabean women for rulers to marry. It was a stable region in Rome’s empire. In any event, the divorce was with Rome’s permission. Phillip was allowed to marry some one else with Rome’s permission, life adhd coaching and I didn’t check out who. He never asked for visitation rights.

Some sources say Antipas first met Herodias when Herodias was on a trip to Rome with Phillip petitioning Rome for something or another at the same time that Antipas was in Rome (alone) petitioning Rome, yet again, for the title of King and more land from his father’s estate, neither of which Rome never granted him in his lifetime. I don’t think it matters how they met. They met, they talked, a deal was struck.

I don’t know why Herodias left Queenship of Judea to become a Tetrarch’s wife. There are always sources that attribute lust to this sort of situation, and these sources do arise in this story, some attributing lust to Herodias, others attributing lust to Antipas. Personally, I find lust a poor reason. A Queen, one of royal blood, just doesn’t think lust. She thinks power and lineage. A tetrarch, although not as powerful as a King, doesn’t have to go far from his little castle, even as far as Judea, to satisfy a lustful thought. An unhappy Tetrarch thinks power and lineage, too. Maybe it was her Maccabean blood and her Maccabean ties that Antipas thought would help him become a King of a landmass that included Judea, which her ancestors ruled before Rome put the Herods there. Maybe she thought The Galilee plus Judea is bigger than just Judea. Maybe she thought that The Galilee plus Arabia, which abutted The Galilee, is bigger than Judea should Antipas go to war for the Arabian territory. In any event, she left Phillip before the divorce (which came through quickly) and went to Antipas’ puny area, The Galilee.

She also jumped the gun. Antipas was not yet rid of his first wife, Phasaelis, when Herodias and the baby arrived. And, he hadn’t petitioned Rome to get rid of Phasaelis and marry Herodias. Although Phasaelis was a Princess by blood and the daughter of a powerful neighbor and King, Aretas IV of Nabatea (Arabia), Antipas decided to circumvent Rome by merely ‘putting her aside,’ an ignominy. This was not nice. Phasaelis went home to Poppa (and took the kids, if there were any with she and Antipas) who bided his time a bit, then attacked The Galilee, because of the dishonor.

Troops from all of Herod the Great’s sons (half-brothers to a man) jumped in to help The Galilean troops, even Phillip (inherited family land was a big thing; a former wife was nothing) and Roman legions jumped in to help, too. But land was lost and that,  by definition, means The Galileans lost the war. He never did divorce Phasaelis and she never returned to him.

Herodias stayed put and she and Antipas married (with Rome’s permission, whose attitude toward provinces was very pragmatic: the war is over; they lost; let ’em marry; who gives a damn) and lived in a castle somewhere in The Galilee with the baby.

Antipas’ reputation went from an annoying pest to miserable in Rome’s eyes because of this double screw up (stupidly and unnecessarily dishonoring a neighbor’s daughter thereby incurring an unnecessary troop expense on Rome’s tab and losing land to a King who was not conquered by Rome). He decided to Make It Better. Tiberius was now the Caesar and Antipas decided to build a city to honor him. He commandeered land in The Galilee and his construction people began building a city. But, Antipas and his building contractors either didn’t do their homework, or if they did, they didn’t think it through. The land upon which the city was being built was a cemetery, sacred ground to every person in the world then as well as today. There was an uprising amongst the folk that local troops could not quell. Again, Rome had to help Antipas out, for Judea wouldn’t, since they sided with the people, not Antipas. The people were quelled and the city was built. It remained uninhabited. No one would go there to live no matter how sweet the pot Antipas created (free homes, free land, tax abatement). Rome had to send troops to forcibly move families to Tiberius and to guard them so they wouldn’t move out in the dark of the night. Flavius Josephus liked this morsel a lot when he heard of it. He checked around and then comments that riff-raff were recruited to populate the city. He observes that even the riff-raff were afraid of the monotheistic god, so local holy people made a rule: the new settlers would only be defiled for 7 days, then everything would be okay.


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