Photograph by James L. Stanfield
Much of Herod the Great's success as a leader is tied to his conciliatory relations with the Romans. Seventy years after his death, though, Judaean rebels openly challenged Roman rule. After taking Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Roman forces besieged Masada, the spectacular Dead Sea fortress where roughly a thousand rebels had holed up (shown here). Some 15,000 forces assailed the mountain citadel for nearly two years before breaking through. The rebels, called Zealots, allegedly committed suicide rather than be captured.
Photograph by James L. Stanfield
The breathtaking citadel at Masada sits on the flanks and summit of a towering mesa on the western shore of the Dead Sea. King Herod built two palaces on the site: one that sprawls across the mesa's flat top and one constructed dramatically in three tiers on its north-facing cliff.
Photograph by Ira Block
The Judaean port of Caesarea on Israel's Mediterranean coast had no reliable source of fresh water when construction on the city began around 22 B.C. So King Herod commissioned this raised Roman aqueduct to deliver water from the springs of Mount Carmel nearly 10 miles (16 kilometers) away.
Photograph by Mark S. Little
To encourage trade through Judaea, King Herod built a deepwater harbor on the open sea at Caesarea. He protected the site by surrounding it with giant cement walls that extended some 500 yards (460 meters) from shore and were anchored to the sea floor using a newly invented hydraulic concrete imported from Italy. Archaeologists aren't sure why the harbor walls crumbled into the sea, but one theory suggests it may have been brought down by an earthquake or tsunami.
Photograph by Richard Nowitz
Crowds gather at nightfall at the Western Wall, all that remains of King Herod's most significant architectural achievement: the Second Temple complex on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Razed in A.D. 70 by the Romans, the Temple's ruins are among the most sacred sites in the Jewish religion.
Photograph by Annie Griffiths Belt
The prayers of Jews who come to the Western Wall in Old Jerusalem include hopes that King Herod's magnificent Second Temple will one day be restored. The site was nicknamed the Wailing Wall by observers who witnessed the passion with which some pilgrims pray at the sacred structure.
Photograph by Bill Curtsinger
Herod the Great's port city of Caesarea was an architectural marvel built to honor Rome's first emperor, Caesar Augustus. The walled city included a palace, a 3,500-seat theater, a hippodrome, and a deepwater harbor sheltered by an enormous concrete breakwater, the outline of which can still be seen beneath the water.
Aerial of Herodium
Photograph by Jodi Cobb
An aerial view shows an ancient fortified palace atop a man-made hill in the Judaean Desert near Jerusalem. The palace complex, called Herodium, was built by King Herod the Great during his 33-year rule, from 37 to 4 B.C. It was adorned with gleaming white limestone buildings, terraced gardens, and ritual baths. It also houses the long-sought mausoleum where Herod was buried.
Photograph by David Silverman/Getty Images
The tomb of Herod the Great, fabled King of Judaea, was discovered by a Hebrew University archaeological team on April 27, 2007. Revered and reviled during his 33-year rule, Herod was laid to rest in 4 B.C. in his Herodium complex near Jerusalem. Around A.D. 64, Jewish rebels resisting Roman rule hid out in Herodium. While there, they smashed most of Herod's mausoleum in revenge for his conciliations to Judaea's hated Roman overlords.
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