Herod Agrippa I | Index

Gaius Caligula Becomes Emperor

coins_agrippa_1_small.gifAfter Agrippa was there in prison for about six months, Tiberius died (37 A.D.), and Gaius Caligula became emperor.

Bust of Caligula

Having shaved and changed his garment, Agrippa presented himself to the new emperor, his friend, in hope of being released. Caligula immediately proceeded to "put a diadem upon [Agrippa's] head, and appointed him to be king of the tetrarchy of [his uncle] Philip [and that of] Lysanius." He also "changed his iron chain for a gold one of equal weight," which he hung about his neck (Ant. 18.6.10).

It is interesting that afterward this golden chain was "hung up within the limits of the temple [at Jerusalem], over the treasury, that it might be a memorial of the severe fate he had lain under, . . . that it might be a demonstration how the greatest prosperity may have a fall, and that God sometimes raises what is fallen down: for this chain thus dedicated, afforded a document to all men, that King Agrippa had once been bound in a chain for a small cause, but recovered his former dignity once again; . . . and was advanced to be a more illustrious king than he was before" (Ant. 19.6.1).

coin_copper_caligula.gif The Senate at Rome also gave him the honorary position of praetor, and when he returned to Judea in the summer of 38 A.D. he passed by Alexandria and, according to Philo, eclipsed the Roman prefect of Egypt in his splendor (Philo In Flaccum 26-29).