Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
in the footsteps of paul
 Jerusalem
detail map

5
35
40
45
50
55
60
70

-
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
 Home | History | Series
 Introduction
 Tarsus (Birth - 30CE)
 Jerusalem (30-34)
 Antioch (34-43)
 Spreading the Word (43-48)
 The Wider World (49-50)
 Corinth (50-52)
 Ephesus (52-56)
 Into the Fire (56-70)
Herod the Great and His Legacy
2
 Pages
1234

film clip

 Video Clip:
Dialup Broadband

Roman Occupation

The submissive behavior and liberality which Herod exercised towards Caesar, and the most powerful men of Rome, obliged him to transgress the customs of his nation, and to set aside many laws, and build cities and erect temples -- not in Judea indeed, for that would not have been borne, it being forbidden for us to pay any honor to images after the manner of the Greeks.
–Josephus Jewish Antiquities 15.328

Upper Galilee
Upper Galilee
(photo courtesy Israel Ministry of Tourism)

Fishing village in Galilee
Fishing village in Galilee
(historical re-creation)

Now Herod planned a magnificent city by the sea, and erected many buildings of white marble. He adorned the city with sumptuous palaces, and large edifices and a harbor that was always free from the waves of the sea...A temple was erected, visible from far out at sea. It had two statues, the one of Rome, the other of Caesar. The city was called Cesarea; and was thus finished in twelve years...
–Josephus Jewish Antiquities 15.329-341

Aqueduct at Caesarea Maritima
Aqueduct at Caesarea Maritima
(photo courtesy Israel Ministry of Tourism)

Theater at Caesarea Maritima
Theater at Caesarea Maritima
(photo courtesy Israel Ministry of Tourism)

First century house at Capernaum
First century house at Capernaum
(courtesy John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed, Excavating Jesus, 2001)

Caesarea Maritima
Caesarea Maritima
(courtesy John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed, Excavating Jesus, 2001)

Tiberias
Tiberias
(courtesy John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed, Excavating Jesus, 2001)


a
s a client king of Rome, Herod ruled a large section of ancient Palestine, centered in Judea and extending up the Jordan valley to Galilee, and over the hills to the Mediterranean coast. Jerusalem was traditionally the governing city of Judea, and administered by a council called the Sanhedrin. The surrounding territories shared linguistic and ethnic bonds with the city, but were largely independent. Though Judea would not be an officially annexed province of the empire until after Herod's death, the region was dependent on Roman protection and favor. In addition to his renovations in Jerusalem, Herod built a port city on the Mediterranean coast. He named it Caesarea Maritima, in honor of the Emperor. A thoroughly Roman city, it later became the seat of government for the governors in charge of Judea and Samaria. It required the construction of a huge manmade harbor and aqueducts to bring in water. The creation of a new city was a shrewd move. In practical terms, it facilitated communication and trade with the rest of the Empire; in symbolic terms, it allowed Herod to monumentalize his reign, and pay homage to his Roman patrons-including the erection of pagan temples -- without offending the traditions of his ancestors.

Having killed his wife and three of his sons before dying, Herod left a will dividing his united territories among his remaining sons. They continued to participate in and imitate the culture of Empire. And they would up the ante on Jewish independence by bringing the Roman city model to the rural countryside. One son, Herod Antipas, established a city named Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. In addition to desecrating certain traditional precincts, Tiberias also brought massive economic changes. Fishing and agriculture were commercialized for export; large estates and fishing concerns replaced independent family farms and boats. Peasant communities were uprooted, and displaced individuals flocked into the cities for employment. Once there, they struggled to establish social ties and security. Divergent sects had existed within Judaism for centuries. Debate often centered on the extent to which foreign customs infringed upon Mosaic law, and the extent to which Jews could participate in the foreign cultures in power. Judaism also had long traditions of apocalypticism -- revelations of God's hidden plan for deliverance of the people. These traditions were far from monolithic, and offered competing visions of the afterlife, the existence of angels, resurrection, and the details of the final judgment. In the years following Herod's death, messianic leaders encouraged hope of relief, and sometimes stirred up armed rebellion in efforts to achieve it. Rome frequently stepped in to put down such revolts, and eventually installed its own representatives to keep order.

next chapter