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Herod Agrippa II

File:Herod Agrippa II.jpg
Agrippa II from Guillaume Rouillé's Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum

Herod Agrippa II (AD 27/28[1] – ca. 92 or 100[1][2]) officially named Marcus Julius Agrippa and sometimes just called Agrippa, was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, the Herodians. He was the son of the first and better-known Herod Agrippa, the brother of Berenice, Mariamne, and Drusilla (second wife of the Roman procurator Antonius Felix).[3]

Early life

Herod Agrippa II was educated at the court of the emperor Claudius, and at the time of his father's death was only seventeen years old. Claudius therefore kept him at Rome, and sent Cuspius Fadus as procurator of the Roman province of Judaea. While at Rome, he voiced his support for the Jews to Claudius, and against the Samaritans and the procurator of Iudaea Province, Ventidius Cumanus, who was lately thought to have been the cause of some disturbances there.[1]

Rise in power

On the death of Herod of Chalcis in 48, his small Syrian kingdom of Chalcis was given to Herod Agrippa, with the right of superintending the Temple in Jerusalem and appointing its high priest.[4]

In 53, he was made king over the territories previously governed by Philip and Lysanias by Claudius, surrendering Chalcis to his cousin, Aristobulus.[5] Herod Agrippa celebrated by marrying off his two sisters Mariamne and Drusilla. Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, repeats the gossip that Herod Agrippa lived in an incestuous relationship with his sister, Berenice.

In 55, Nero added to his realm the cities of Tiberias and Taricheae in Galilee, and Livias (Iulias), with fourteen villages near it, in Peraea.

File:Nikolai Bodarevsky 001.jpg
Apostle Paul On Trial by Nikolai Bodarevsky, 1875. Agrippa and Berenice are both seated on thrones.

It was before him and his sister Berenice that, according to the New Testament, Paul the Apostle pleaded his case at Caesarea Maritima, possibly in 59.[6]

Agrippa expended large sums in beautifying Jerusalem and other cities, especially Berytus (ancient Beirut), a Hellenised city in Phoenicia. His partiality for the latter rendered him unpopular amongst his own subjects, and the capricious manner in which he appointed and deposed the high priests made him disliked by the Jews. Agrippa failed to prevent his subjects from rebelling, and urged instead that they tolerate the behavior of the Roman procurator Gessius Florus; but in 66 the Jews expelled him and Berenice from the city.[1] During the First Jewish-Roman War of 66–73, he sent 2,000 men, archers and cavalry, to support Vespasian, showing that, although a Jew in religion, he was entirely devoted to the Roman Empire. He accompanied Titus on some campaigns,[1] and was wounded at the siege of Gamla. After the capture of Jerusalem, he went with his sister Berenice to Rome, where he was invested with the dignity of praetor and rewarded with additional territory.

Relation with Josephus

He had a great intimacy with the historian Josephus, having supplied him with information for his history, Antiquities of the Jews. Josephus preserved two of the letters he received from him.[7][8][9]


According to Photius, Agrippa died, childless, at the age of seventy, in the third year of the reign of Trajan, that is, 100,[10] but statements of historian Josephus, in addition to the contemporary epigraphy from his kingdom, cast this date into serious doubt. The modern scholarly consensus holds that he died before 93/94.[1] He was the last prince of the house of the Herods.

Family tree

Herod the Great
Mariamne I
d. 29 BCE
d. 7 BCE
(daughter of Salome
Mariamne III
Herod V
Herod Agrippa I
Aristobulus Minor
Herod Agrippa II


  1. ^ a b c d e f Rajak, Tessa (1996), "Iulius Agrippa (2) II, Marcus", in Hornblower, Simon, Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press 
  2. ^ 12px Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Agrippa, Herod, II.". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  3. ^ 12px Mason, Charles Peter (1870). "Agrippa, Herodes II". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 1. p. 78. 
  4. ^ Template:Cite JE1906: "In the year 50, without regard to the rights of the heir to the throne, he had himself appointed ... to the kingdom of Chalcis by the emperor, and also to the supervisorship of the Temple at Jerusalem, which carried with it the right of nominating the high priest."
  5. ^ Acts 25:13; 26:2,7
  6. ^ Acts 26
  7. ^ Josephus: PACE: AJ, 17.5.4 (Whiston); Josephus: PACE: AJ, 19.9.2 (Whiston) and endnote 1 ; Josephus: PACE: AJ, 20.1.3 (Whiston) ; Josephus: PACE: AJ, 20.5.2 (Whiston) ; Josephus: PACE: AJ, 20.7.1 (Whiston) ; Josephus: PACE: AJ, 20.7.8 (Whiston) ; Josephus: PACE: AJ, 20.8.4 (Whiston) ; Josephus: PACE: AJ, 11.9.4 (Whiston)
  8. ^ Josephus: PACE: BJ, 2.11.6 (Whiston) ; Josephus: PACE: BJ, 2.12. (Whiston) § 1,16 ; Josephus: PACE: BJ, 2.17.1 (Whiston) ; Josephus: PACE: BJ, 4.1.3 (Whiston)
  9. ^ Josephus: PACE: Life, 1.1.54 (Whiston)
  10. ^ Photius cod. 33

Other sources

External links

Herod Agrippa II
Preceded by
Herod of Chalcis
Tetrarch of Chalcis
48 – 53
Title next held by
Aristobulus of Chalcis

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