Herod’s Wife and Victim
Died 29 B.C.

Mariamne was of the Jewish Asmonean line, and was accounted the most beautiful of her time. She was betrothed to Herod the Great, and married to him at Samaria, 41 B.C., Herod leaving the siege of Jerusalem for that purpose.

She was of proud spirit, boastful of her Maccabean ancestry, and strong temper, and the king’s harem was, accoding to Josephus, anything but a pleasant place, owing  to the ill-will existing between Mariamne and her mother, Alexandrine, and Herod’s mother, Cypros, and his sister, Salome, the latter women being taunted by her times with their less noble birth. She persuaded Herod to depose Ananel from the high priesthood, and appoint her brother, Aristobulus, which her brother was purposely drowned by his order at a swimming bout, the following year.

Antony having oversight of Rome’s eastern dominions, and Mariamne reporting this to Cleopatra, Herod was summoned to Laodicea to explain, and bought the good will of Antony.

Herod, who loved Mariamne with a wild, insane passion, gave orders to have her killed in case Antony ordered his death so as to prevent her fro falling into Antony’s power, and was up upbraided by her on the return.

Herod’s mother and sister now accused her of adultery with Hosephus, and the furious Herod killed Josephus, and imprisoned Mariamne’s mother.

After Antony’s overthrow at Actium, Herod went to Rhodes to intercede with Octavius for having been Antony’s partisan. Before going he killed Mariamne’s grandfather, and shut her up in prison with her mother, leaving orders with the officers, Soemus and Josephus, to kill them if he did not return. This also became known to them.

A year later Salome falsely accused her of attempting to poison Herod. By torturing her in her chamberlain. Herod discovered the story’s falsity, but learned that the officers had told of his last purpose, and put them to death. Mariamne, on his sister’s now further falsehood of her adultery, and through the constant urging of Salome and his other, was also put to death.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.