Salomé, like Dismas, or the various names of the Three Magi, is a name given to a character in the Bible whose name is not given in the Bible itself. The name "Salomé" is preserved in the Jewish Antiquities of Josephus.
She was the step-daughter of Herod the Great, and danced before Herod and her mother Herodias at the occasion of Herod's birthday, and by doing so caused the death of John the Baptist. The New Testament suggests that Salomé caused John to be executed because of his complaints that Herod's marriage to Herodias was adulterous; and that Herodias put her up to the demand that John be executed, something the king was initially reluctant to do. According to Mark 6:21-29:
This Biblical story has long been a favourite of painters, since it offers a chance to depict oriental splendour, semi-nude women, and exotic scenery under the guise of a Biblical subject. Painters who have done notable representations of Salomé include Titian and Gustave Moreau.
This story was made the subject of a play by Oscar Wilde that premiered in Paris in 1896. In Wilde's play, Salomé takes a perverse fancy for John the Baptist, and causes him to be executed when John spurns her affections. In the finale, Salomé takes up John's severed head and kisses it. Because British law forbade the depiction of Bible characters on stage, Wilde wrote the play originally in French, and then produced an English translation. Wilde, unfortunately, struggled with his French, and the play was proofread and corrected by Marcel Schwob.
The Wilde play was turned into an opera by Richard Strauss. The Strauss opera, much more than the Wilde play itself, is a part of the standard repertoire. Strauss's opera is famous for the Dance of the Seven Veils.