posted on Dec, 18 2014 @ 02:32 PM
This popped up on my feed
a few minutes ago and I thought it was worth a share for the pictures alone!
First a little background:
About seven and half miles south of Jerusalem sits a man-made mountain in the Judean desert on which is perched a fortified palace compound of King
(aka Herodion) is comprised of the hilltop fortress/palace, a lower palace and a
town. At 2,487 ft (758 meters), the upper palace sits upon the highest peak in the Judean desert. The site is believed to be the place where King
Herod was buried. What is thought to be the tomb of Herod was uncovered at the site in 2007 though its identification as such has been challenged by
some notable archaeologists.
Much of the site remains to be excavated but among the sections that have been are a Roman bathhouse and theater, a synagogue and the aforementioned
mausoleum. The floors are decorated with large mosaics and the walls with frescoes thought to have been created by artists on loan from Julius Caesar.
Construction of the site started sometime after 40 BC, following a great victory over the Parthians.
Aerial view of Herodium. Credit: Tatzpit Aerial Photography via
The description of Herodium from the Romano-Jewish historian Josephus:
This fortress, which is some sixty stadia distant from Jerusalem, is naturally strong and very suitable for such a structure, for reasonably nearby
is a hill, raised to a (greater) height by the hand of man and rounded off in the shape of a breast. At intervals it has round towers, and it has a
steep ascent formed of two hundred steps of hewn stone. Within it are costly royal apartments made for security and for ornament at the same time. At
the base of the hill there are pleasure grounds built in such a way as to be worth seeing, among other things because of the way in which water, which
is lacking in that place, is brought in from a distance and at great expense. The surrounding plain was built up as a city second to none, with the
hill serving as an acropolis for the other dwellings.
Starting in 1972, excavations at the site were conducted by a team from the The Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the leadership of famed Israeli
archaeologist, Ehud Netzer. After Netzer's death in 2010, excavations stopped for a time but they've now resumed and the latest discovery is that of a
From Past Horizons
The main feature of the entryway is an impressive corridor with a complex system of arches spanning its width on three separate levels. These
arches buttressed the corridor’s massive side-walls, allowing the King and his entourage direct passage into the Palace Courtyard. Thanks to the
supporting arches, the 20-metre long and 6-metre wide corridor has been preserved to a height of 20 metres.
Section of the newly uncovered entrance. Credit: Herodium Expedition via
Surprisingly, during the course of
the excavations, it became evident that the arched corridor was never actually in use, as prior to its completion it became redundant. This appears to
have happened when Herod, aware of his impending death, decided to convert the whole hilltop complex into a massive memorial mound, a royal burial
monument on an epic scale.
Whatever the case, the corridor was back-filled during the construction of the massive artificial hill at the end of Herod’s reign. The upper
section of a new monumental stairway stretching from the hill’s base to its peak, constructed during the course of this building phase, appears to
have been built over it.
Finally, a rendering of Herodium from artist Balage Balogh (larger image
edit on 2014-12-18 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)