Originally published 02/16/2013
He's best known as a great tyrant. King Herod is said to have killed his wife and sons as well as all the baby boys of Bethlehem.But the first major exhibition on the Biblical ruler at the Israel Museum sets out to prove that he also had positive qualities that make him more deserving of the title "Herod the Great"."We tried to show that he was not only the cruel person described by [the Jewish historian] Josephus and the New Testament but he was also a ruler who managed to keep this country in peace for 33 years," says curator Silvia Rosenburg."It was probably very difficult being a local ruler caught between the Roman Empire and the different exigencies of Judaism, but he did it very well. In his time there was prosperity and work for everyone."A main reason why there was mass employment was because of the ambitious building projects ordered by Herod when he ruled between 37 and 4 BC......Palestinian officials say they will make a formal complaint to the museum for removing relics from the West Bank, which Palestinians want as part of a future state.
Originally published 02/15/2013
JERUSALEM — In one room sits a sarcophagus of reddish-pink limestone believed to have held the body of King Herod, painstakingly reconstructed after having been smashed to bits centuries ago. In another, there are frescoes from Herod’s elaborate underground palace, pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. Throughout, elaborate animated videos show the king’s audacious construction — atop the desert fortress Masada; at his burial place, Herodium; and his most famous work, the Second Temple of Jerusalem.The Israel Museum on Tuesday opened its most ambitious archaeological exhibition and the world’s first devoted to Herod, the lionized and demonized Rome-appointed king of Judea, who reigned from 37 to 4 B.C.E. and is among the most seminal and contentious figures in Jewish history. But the exhibition, which the museum director described as a “massive enterprise” that involved sifting through 30 tons of material from Herodium and reconstructing 250 artifacts, has also brought its own bit of controversy.
Originally published 01/16/2013
JERUSALEM — Israel’s national museum said Tuesday it will open what it calls the world’s first exhibition devoted to the architectural legacy of biblical King Herod, the Jewish proxy monarch who ruled Jerusalem and the Holy Land under Roman occupation two millennia ago.The display includes the reconstructed tomb and sarcophagus of one of antiquity’s most notable and despised figures, curators say.Modern day politics are intruding into this ancient find. Palestinians object to the showing of artifacts found in the West Bank. The Israeli museum insists it will return the finds once the exhibit closes....
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