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Herod the Great

\Herod the Great (c. 74 – 4 BC) was King of Judaea, but only by the blessings of Rome. His first appointment as Governor of Galilee in 47 BC was due to Julius Caesar. Seven years later, Mark Antony elevated him to king, and in 31 BC Augustus allowed him to retain his throne.

Herod is known for being a ruthless ruler, but he was also an able and far-sighted administrator who helped in building the economic might of Judaea, founding cities and developing agricultural projects, the most famous project involving rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

His cruelty was reflected in the Gospel account of the Massacre of the Innocents.

After his death, his kingdom was divided between three of his sons: Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Philip.

Herod's death also indicates the latest time at which the birth of Christ could have occurred. Because Herod's death is established to have occured in 4 B.C. and because Christ was born before Herod died, the traditional date of Christ's birth and the start of the Common era is incorrect.