Tour of Herodium Palace Complex

In Ehud Netzer’s book on the Palaces of the Hasmoneans and Herod the Great he writes:

In its day, Herodium was one of the largest palaces in the Greco-Roman world. It is actually the most spacious one of that time that is known to us from archaeological studies.

When I guide Herodium, I include a comprehensive tour of Lower Herodium, outside the archaeological park and the area that Prof. Ehud Netzer excavated in 1972 looking for Herod’s tomb. I point out

  • the overall planning of the site – the relationship between the palace/fortress on a man-made mountain south of the site and the palace complex at its foot
  • the concentration of structures around the pool, more characteristic of present day complexes such as a university campus or large hospital
  • the addition of formal gardens against the background of the barren Judean desert
  • where and how Herod overcame the topography and lack of water to build Herodium
  • Netzer’s discovery of the Monumental building where he thought Herod was buried

In its current state it can be difficult to imagine what Herodium must have looked like. Then I was introduced to the Hungarian-born artist and illustrator, Balage Balogh. Balogh has done paintings where he has recreated (Biblical) settings with a startling degree of accuracy based on a combination of intensive archaeological investigation, scriptural and ancient text research and a measured dose of interpretive insight. He has kindly given me permission to include his illustration of Herodium here. To better picture the ancient world check out his website at
http://www.archaeologyillustrated.com/


(Click on the image to view it in more detail)

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3 thoughts on “Tour of Herodium Palace Complex

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