Herod Agrippa I | Index

Agrippa Returns to Palestine

coins_agrippa_1_small.gifHis arrival in Palestine with the title of "king" roused Antipas' jealousy, but Agrippa's sister Herodias became even more outraged and she pressed Antipas to seek Rome to give him also the title of king. Because of Herodias' insistence, Antipas finally in A.D. 39 went to Rome to ask for the new title.

When Agrippa heard about this he dispatched one of his freedmen, Fortunatus, to Rome to make accusations of treason and independence against Antipas. He suggested that Antipas was conspiring with the Parthians against Rome, and made the point that his arsenal at Tiberias contained enough weapons to equip 70,000 men.

This was enough to destroy Antipas and led to his downfall. Antipas was exiled to Gaul (ancient Lyons) in 39 A.D. and Caligula gave Agrippa his tetrarchy (Galilee and Perea) in addition to the rest of his domains. He offered Herodias an estate of her own but she preferred to accompany her husband into exile.


At about the same time Caligula was clearly going mad and, among other things, demanded that he should be universally deified and adored as a god and that all men should swear by his name.

He filled his Jewish subjects with the utmost horror when he ordered Petronius, governor of Syria, to place a gilded statue of the emperor in the Holy of Holies of the Temple at Jerusalem to be worshiped.

In the meantime Agrippa acted shrewdly and furnished a magnificent banquet in honor of Caligula. When the emperor was full of wine, and Agrippa had toasted his health, Caligula generously proposed in return anything within his power that might contribute to Agrippa's happiness. Agrippa, on behalf of his brethren at home, said, "My petition is this, that thou wilt no longer think of the dedication of that statue which thou hast ordered to be set up in the Jewish temple by Petronius." Caligula thereupon "as a favour to Agrippa" rescinded the order (Ant. 18.8.7-8).