King Herod at the Israel Museum

King Herod The Great, an Edomite whose family converted to Judaism, ruled over Judea in the first century BCE. He was a most disturbed person, continually depressed and highly paranoid. He married at least ten times and killed several members of his close family (including his wife and son). But he is mostly remembered for the monumental building projects, first and foremost the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

“Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey” is an exhibition at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (running until 3 January 2014). It tells the story of Herod, mainly through the display of various archaeological findings. The main exhibit is a reconstruction of his burial chamber, as unearthed by the archaeologist Ehud Netzer, who dedicated most of his life to excavations in Herodium. Herod built a magnificent palace in this remote area in the Judean desert, only to bury it under huge amounts of sand and stones when he decided to turn it into his final resting place.

There is a tragic ending to this archaeological discovery. Professor Ehud Netzer died in 2010 at Herodium, when a railing he leaned against gave way. This exhibition also commemorates his lifetime achievement.

This is a great exhibition, extremely well prepared and presented. If you cannot go see it in person, at least take a look at the exhibition’s website.

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