Mount Herodium

Mount Herodium  

6 Things to Include in Your Building Project to Impress Your Roman Benefactors

When you hear the name Herod the Great the first thing that pops in your head is most likely something to do with the guy who had the innocent children killed after Jesus’s birth. But, in addition to that, Herod was also known for his many building projects in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and other cities along the Mediterranean coast. You may recall that the Roman Caesar placed Herod in his position as ruler over Judea. As Rome’s representative during his reign in that area (37-4 BC) Herod spared no expense in his efforts to impress his Roman benefactors with his many building projects. One of those projects, located about eight miles south of Jerusalem, is the place known as Herodium built by Herod and dedicated to himself.


6 things to include in a building project that would surely impress your Roman benefactors.

  1. Build a palace fortress so it could be seen from miles away. By placing the palace fortress atop an already existing hill, Herod’s seven-story palace could be seen from Jerusalem.
  2. Build four towers around the fortress so you have a view of the Judean desert, the Dead Sea, and the mountains of Moab. It is said that Herod could send messages from Herodium to Jerusalem and Masada by using a mirror to reflect the sun.
  3. Build a Roman bathhouse which includes a changing room, a stretching room, a steam room and a cold bath.
  4. Build a triclinium (a.k.a. a Roman dining room).
  5. Build a colonnaded pool, at least twice the size of our Olympic-sized pools, and make it deep enough so that boats can float in it. Have the water for the pool brought in via an aqueduct at least 6 kilometers away.
  6. Make provision for your burial by including a 2-story mausoleum. Herod’s tomb was discovered at Herodium in 2007.

Rainey, Anson F. and R. Steven Notley. The Sacred Bridge. Jerusalem: Carta, 2006.

Brynne TurnerComment