The Herodian Dynasty was one of the most dysfunctional families of the ancient world. What we know of the family we know mostly from
Josephus, and Josephus hated Herod. Herod the Great, however, led a remarkable life; he owed his throne to Marc Anthony, while his most
famous mother-in-law was friends with Cleopatra. He was married nine times, and of some of his marriages all we know is that it happened.
We do not know the names of two of his wives. The woman who was the love of his life, one of the great beauties of all time, he murdered.
He also murdered her brother, and her mother. And their sons. He had executed several of his sons, being afraid they were plotting for his
throne. He is credited with the murder of the Innocents for the same reason. He could be extremely generous. He was an architect and
builder of note. And his children and grandchildren associated with the Caesars, one of them almost marrying into the Imperial family.
A note about dates
The dates given here are given as B.C.E. and AUC. The term B.C.E. Before the Common Era is the same as the
more common B.C. and is used in more scholarly papers. AUC Ab urbe condita, from the founding of the City of Rome, was the calendar used in
Rome and would have been familar to Herod. The city was said to have been founded by Romulus and Remus on 21 April 753 BCE. There are a few
places where the Jewish calendar is used, but this only for the month and day. That we are now in the year 5769 (December 2008), and that
the world was said by the rabbis to have been created in 3761 BCE would have been unknown to Herod. That calendar did not come into being
until long after these events.