Monday, February 07, 2011

Did Herod Really Execute Mariamne and Three of His Sons?

No Hasmonean at any price - the Hasmoneans followed the prophets

The picture with the Vermes article, shows the judgement of Mariamne: There are some priestly figures in the background looking very severe. Yet when one reads the story (the supposed history in the writings attributed to Josephus) one gets very little interaction with priests which is strange given Herod’s piety. We do read about Herod occasionally offering sacrifice before going into battle, and that’s about it. The high priest must surely have been heavily involved with Herod and his family.

Then there is the family tragedy in Herod’s life. There are some fanciful stories. We are led to believe that Herod executed his wife Mariamne who he loved madly, and that he is supposed to have killed his three sons Alexander, Aristobulus and Antipator. All this I no longer accept. The scholars swallow it. Herod was not the ogre portrayed in the writings attributed to Josephus. These stories are Flavian propaganda, with ex priests doing the writing.  They have written a far-fetched story that is impossible for any rational person to accept.  The aim was to cover-up the truth, that priests had been involved in the murders of Herod's family because they didn't want a Hasmonean king.  The person who survived was the son of Mariamne, Aristobulus whom Herod appointed king.

Mariamne, a Hasmonean, was never executed by Herod. She died either by poisoning or naturally – she had given birth to at least five children. Her first child, a boy, and unnamed, was educated in Rome. He died, but the text doesn’t say why. This was the real Antipator who was thus Hasmonean. He died more than likely by poisoning. Doris, Antipator’s supposed mother was invented - she appears briefly in the editor’s story, and then much later conveniently re-appears for a brief moment, again for the story. Alexander also died by poisoning - Herod was suspicious in the story as to how Alexander died - he didn't execute him.  Aristobulus survived. We can now see why the Talmud (in a quote from the Vermes article) calls Herod a “wicked slave of the Hasmonean kings”. Herod wanted a Hasmonean son of Mariamne to succeed him, and someone was out to stop him. The priests were set against having a Hasmonean king. It was their guile that was responsible for the deaths of Mariamne and two of her sons.

Thus the priests wrote in the second letter of 4QMMT, the Acts of Torah: “And you know that no treachery or lie or evil is found in our hands”. Such words are uttered by the guilty. When they wrote this letter, the priests were playing mind games with Herod. Herod didn’t murder his wife Mariamne and two of his three sons. The priests made it look as though he did by the use of poison. And the editors of Josephus’s writings added the third son, Aristobulus to the list of Herod’s victims – they wanted to erase Aristobulus from history.

Aristobulus, the father of Agrippa I, was appointed king by Herod. He remained king until he died when Agrippa I became king. Kokkinos rightly asks the question: “However, is it possible that a royal court of such magnitude…. lost its well placed manpower in a spectacular overnight disintegration?” The answer is, it didn’t.

All the Roman governors (Pilate was the prefect of police in Caesarea) were fictitious – made up by the editors, and Roman historians. Laughably, Martin Goodman has the governors hiding “in political isolation on their estates in the southern part of the province”. The so-called procuratorial coins were coins of kings Aristobulus and his son Aggrippa I.  They, like their father and grandfather Herod, didn’t allow their image on their coins. Only for a short period did Agrippa I’s image appear on coins, when the editors were forced to admit that a Hasmonean was in power. Agrippa I’s rule was considerably longer than the range of dates on coins with his image.  In Judaism, Agrippa I was known as Agrippa the Great. This would make one think that the reign of Agrippa I was comparable to that of his grandfather Herod, and thus much longer than the three years allowed by the coins with Agrippa's image.  Agrippa I, a Hasmonean king, succeeded his father Aristobulus, also a Hasmonean, who in turn succeeded Herod. The history is garbled in the writings attributed to Josephus.  Agrippa I ruled until 66 CE when he was killed by the priests, which prompted the Roman invasion under Nero.

The priests were out on their ear, on their own admission (4QMMT), and because of their chicanery with Herod and his family. Hence Kokkinos could write: “the ‘priestly class’ as the sole ruling class in Judaea under Rome is a myth”. 

4QMMT can thus be seen for what it is - a last desperate attempt to justify themselves before Herod on the part of the priests.  They were attempting to cover-up their own guilt in being involved in the deaths of Herod's family.



  1. Hi,
    I'm a Norwegian, writing an alternative story of Christendom.
    Your essay is absolutely "breaking news", and I wonder about this first born boy of Mariamne/Herode. Is there anything indicating he was a "hostage of honor" at Cæsars court?

    Regards Torgeir Aune

    1. Torgeir

      The first born boy of Mariamne and Herod was Antipator. Doris, his so-called mother is an obvious fabrication. There is no record in the writings attributed to Josephus of this boy being a hostage of any kind. Similarly the appointment of Aristobulus as high priest at a young age is the excuse the writers create for his subsequent fictitous drowning by Herod's servants. The extant history is unreliable, being the product of Flavian historians (ex priests) on behalf of Vespasian. The Scrolls on the other hand are reliable.