Marianne I Hasmonean, 2nd wife King Herod

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Marianne I Hasmonean, 2nd wife King Herod

Hebrew: מרים החשמונאית Hasmonean, 2nd wife King Herod, Dutch: Marianne I Hasmonean, Princess of the Hasmoneans
Also Known As: "I /Mariamne/", "dau of Alexander the Jewess", "Maccabaea", "Hasmonean"
Death: Died in Judea, Israel
Cause of death: Executed by her husband, Herod
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Alexander II Hasmonean, High Priest and Elizabeth of Jerusalem, Queen Alexandra II
Wife of Herod the Great, king of Judea
Mother of Alexander III, Prince of Judaea; Salampsio, Princess of Judaea; Cypros , Princess of Judaea; Aristóbulus, IV, Prince of Judaea and son of Herod the Great & Mariamne I
Sister of Jonathan Aristobulus III Last Hasmonean High Priest and N.N. ., Hasmonean Princess, 1st wife of Pheroras
Half sister of Heli ben Matat and Gjor(a) **

Occupation: Princesse de Judée
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Marianne I Hasmonean, 2nd wife King Herod

Mariamne I also called Mariamne the Hasmonean (died 29 BCE) was the second wife of Herod the Great. She was known for her great beauty, as was her brother Aristobulus. Her husband loved her because of her beauty alone and not for what was in her heart and soul. Ultimately this was the main reason for the downfall of the Hasmonean dynasty of Judea.

Her name is spelled Μαριάμη (Mariame) by Josephus, but in some editions of his work the second m is doubled (Mariamme). In later copies of those editions the spelling was dissimilated to its now most common form, Mariamne. In Hebrew, Mariamne is known as מִרְיָם, (Miriam), as in the traditional, Biblical name (see Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron).

She was the daughter of the Hasmonean Alexandros, and thus one of the last heirs to the Hasmonean dynasty of Judea.[1] Her mother, Alexandra, arranged for her betrothal to Herod in 41 BCE, but the two were not wed for four years, in Samaria. Mariamne bore Herod four children: two sons, Alexandros and Aristobulus (both executed in 7 BCE), and two daughters, Salampsio and Cypros. Mariamne's only sibling was Aristobulus III of Judea. Her father, Alexander of Judaea, the son of Aristobulus II, married his cousin Alexandra, daughter of his uncle Hyrcanus II, in order to cement the line of inheritance from Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, but the inheritance soon continued the blood feud of previous generations, and eventually led to the downfall of the Hasmonean line. By virtue of her parents' union, Mariamne claimed Hasmonean royalty on both sides of her family lineage.

Josephus writes that it was because of Mariamne's vehement insistence that Herod made her brother, Aristobulos, High Priest. Aristobulos, who was not even eighteen, drowned within a year of his appointment; Alexandra, his mother, blamed Herod. Alexandra wrote to Cleopatra, begging her assistance in avenging the boy's murder. Cleopatra in turn urged Marc Antony to punish Herod for the crime and Antony sent for him to make his defense. Herod left his young wife in the care of his uncle Joseph, along with the instructions that if Antony should kill him, Joseph should kill Mariamne. Herod believed his wife to be so beautiful that she would become engaged to another man after his death and that his great love for Mariamne prevented him from enduring a separation from her, even in death. Joseph became familiar with the Queen and eventually divulged this information to her and the other women of the household, which did not have the hoped-for effect of proving Herod's devotion to his wife. Rumors soon circulated that Herod had been killed by Antony, and Alexandra persuaded Joseph to take Mariamne and her to the Roman legions for protection. However, Herod was released by Antony and returned home, only to be informed of Alexandra's plan by his mother and sister, Salome. Salome also accused Mariamne of committing adultery with Joseph, a charge which Herod initially dismissed after discussing it with his wife. After Herod forgave her, Mariamne inquired about the order given to Joseph to kill her should Herod be killed, and Herod then became convinced of her infidelity, saying that Joseph would only have confided that to her were the two of them intimate. He gave orders for Joseph to be executed and for Alexandra to be confined, but did not punish his wife.

Because of this conflict between Mariamne and Salome, when Herod visited Augustus in Rhodes, he separated the women – he left his sister and his sons in Masada while he moved his wife and mother-in-law, Alexandra, to Alexandrium. Again, Herod left instructions that should he die, the charge of the government was to be left to Salome and his sons, and Mariamne and her mother were to be killed. Mariamne and Alexandra were left in the charge of another man named Sohemus, and after gaining his trust again learned of the instructions Herod provided should harm befall him. Mariamne became convinced that Herod did not truly love her and resented that he would not let her survive him. When Herod returned home, Mariamne treated him coldly and did not conceal her hatred for him. Salome and her mother preyed on this opportunity, feeding Herod false information to fuel his dislike. Herod still favored her; but she refused to have sexual relations with him and accused him of killing her grandfather, Hyrcanus II, and her brother. Salome insinuated that Mariamne planned to poison Herod, and Herod had Mariamne's favorite eunuch tortured to learn more. The eunuch knew nothing of a plot to poison the king, but confessed the only thing he did know: that Mariamne was dissatisfied with the king because of the orders given to Sohemus. Outraged, Herod called for the immediate execution of Sohemus, but permitted Mariamne to stand trial for the alleged murder plot. To gain favor with Herod, Mariamne's mother even implied Mariamne was plotting to commit lèse majesté. Mariamne was ultimately convicted and executed in 29 BCE. Herod grieved for her for many months.

Talmudic Legends.

There is a Talmudic legend concerning the marriage and death of Mariamne, although her name is not mentioned. It is to the effect that when the whole house of the Hasmoneans had been rooted out, she threw herself from the roof and was killed (B. B. 3b). Out of love for her, Herod is said to have kept her body preserved in honey for seven years (ib.; S. Geiger, in "Oẓar Neḥmad," iii. 1). In the Talmud this sort of mental derangement is called a "deed of Herod" (Sanh. 66b). Josephus relates also that after her death Herod tried in hunting and banqueting to forget his loss, but that even his strong nature succumbed and he fell ill in Samaria, where he had made Mariamne his wife ("Ant." xv. 7, § 7). The Mariamne tower in Jerusalem, built by Herod, was without doubt named after her; it was called also "Queen" (Βασιλίς "B. J." ii. 17, § 8; v. 4, § 3).



by Tal Ilan

Mariamme, granddaughter of the last Hasmonean rulers, was the wife of King Herod of the new dynasty. After bearing him five children, she was executed by the king in 27 B.C.E.

Mariamme was the daughter of Alexander, Aristobulus II’s son, and Alexandra, Hyrcanus II’s daughter. Her grandfathers were the two rival Hasmoneans who invited Rome to intervene in Judaean internal affairs and eventually brought about the downfall of the Hasmonean kingdom. Abraham Schalit calculates that her father and mother could have been married only between 55 and 49 B.C.E., after Alexander’s revolt against Rome was crushed and before his own execution at the hands of the Romans (Ant. 14:125). She was thus probably born in 54 B.C.E.

Her two grandparents displayed opposing political leanings. While Aristobulus fought the Romans to his death, Hyrcanus allied himself with the house of Antipater the Idumean and its Roman patrons. After the death of her father for insurrection against Rome, Mariamme found herself associated with her mother’s house—the pro-Roman house of Hyrcanus. In 42 B.C.E., when she was just twelve, she was betrothed to Herod, heir to Antipater’s house. In 40 B.C.E., her uncle Antigonus (her father’s brother), last surviving scion of the house of Aristobulus, allied himself with Rome’s enemies the Parthians, and invaded Palestine. Herod was put to flight and Mariamme, together with the rest of her family and that of her fiancé, were placed on Masada for safekeeping while Herod hastened to Rome. He returned to Judaea a king, with Rome’s favor and Roman might, retook Judaea and in 37 B.C.E. married Mariamme, who was by then seventeen years old.

Herod and Mariamme were married for ten years. She bore him five children during those years—his heirs Alexander and Aristobulus, another son who died and two daughters, Shelamziyyon and Mariamme. In 27 B.C.E. Herod had Mariamme executed. The interpretation of the events that brought about this development is complex. From Josephus it is not clear whether she was executed on a charge of infidelity against the king or on the charge of attempted poisoning. Josephus bases his description on the writing of Nicolaus of Damascus, Herod’s court historian, who decided to make Mariamme a tragic heroine, guilty of no more than the sin of hubris. Others, particularly Herod’s sister SALOME who was offended by Mariamme’s pride, took advantage of her gullibility in order to plot against her. When her first attempt to make Mariamme appear guilty of infidelity partly failed (Ant. 15:81–87), she contrived to make her appear to be a poisoner (Ant. 15:222–230), whereupon Herod had her executed. In Nicolaus’ book, Herod is made to look innocent: madly in love with Mariamme, he lost all control of his senses, thus making himself susceptible to belief in rumors spread about his wife by evil wishers.

This pro-Herodian interpretation must, however, be rejected in light of other evidence, especially the fact that Mariamme’s execution, as Josephus himself notes (Josephus, BJ 1:431–445), cannot be seen separately from the execution or elimination of other Hasmoneans in Herod’s court—Mariamme’s brother Aristobulus III (36 B.C.E.); her grandfather Hyrcanus II (30 B.C.E.); and, after Mariamme’s death, her mother Alexandra (26 B.C.E.) and then her sons Alexander and Aristobulus (7 B.C.E.). Herod never ceased to see in the Hasmoneans his mortal enemies, women as well as men, since in the Hasmonean house a precedent had been created when a woman (SHELAMZIYYON) became queen and ruled independently. Mariamme could see herself—and was probably perceived by others—as a suitable candidate for the monarchy in Judaea. This becomes even more obvious when we learn from Josephus that at least twice, when Herod left his kingdom under embarrassing circumstances, once in 35 B.C.E. and once in 30 B.C.E., Mariamme and her mother tried to win control of the army and other centers of power (Ant. 15:71–73; 205–206). She probably never ceased to see herself as a suitable and legitimate candidate for the throne of Judaea.


  • Ilan, Tal. Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Palestine: An Inquiry into Image and Status, p. 68. Tübingen: 1995. 

A discussion of Mariamme’s age at marriage

  • Ilan, Tal. Mine and Yours are Hers: Retrieving Women's History from Rabbinic Literature. Leiden: 1997, 152–154. 

A discussion of the single (nameless) portrayal of Mariamme in rabbinic literature, in comparison with her presentation in Josephus, evaluating (non)historical value of the former.

  • Ilan, Tal. Integrating Jewish Women into Second Temple History. Tübingen: 1999, 105–115. 

Presents the thesis that Josephus description of Herod and Mariamme’s romantic love story is the literary-rhetorical creation of Nicolaus of Damascus.

  • Ilan, Tal. “King David, King Herod and Nicolaus of Damascus,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 5 (1998): 195–240. 

This paper is a comparison between the portrayal of Herod in Josephus and of King David in the Bible. Mariamme the Hasmonean and her fate are compared to Michal daughter of King David and her downfall.

  • Macurdy, Grace. Vassal-Queens and Other Contemporary Women in the Roman Empire. Baltimore: 1937, 69–72. 

A retelling of Herod and Mariamme’s story strongly influenced by Josephus’ version.

  • Schalit, Abraham. “The Round Structure at Masada: Mariamme the Hasmonean’s Tomb?” (Hebrew) Ha-Umma 2 (1963): 356–363. 

In this article Schalit suggests that the round structure in (the middle level in the northern palace) at Masada was actually built by Herod as a mausoleum to his dead wife Mariamme. He does this by comparing it architecturally to Augustus’ mausoleum in Rome.

  • Schalit, Abraham. König Herodes: Der Mann und sein Werk. Berlin: 1969, 563–644. 

In this chapter Schalit tells Herod and Mariamme’s story rather like Josephus, though he does assign the more dramatic-pathetic representations to the literary genre employed by Nicolaus of Damascus.


Mariamme: Granddaughter of Aristobulus II. and Iohannes Hyrcanus II. (Hebrew Mirjam; the form Mariamne in Fr. Hebbel's drama is a corruption from later MSS). Born c. 53/52 BC, M.


Mariamne the Hasmonean1

b. 0057 B.C., d. 0029 B.C.

Mariamne the Hasmonean|b. 0057 B.C.\nd. 0029 B.C.|p266.htm#i21277|Alexander II the Hasmonean|d. 0049 B.C.|p267.htm#i21329|Alexandra the Hasmonean|b. 0101 B.C.\nd. 0028 B.C.|p266.htm#i21330|Judah A. I., King of Judaea|b. 0100-0098 BCE\nd. 0049 B.C.|p267.htm#i21333||||John H. I., High Priest of Judaea|b. 0100-0102 BCE\nd. 0030 B.C.|p266.htm#i21331||||

Father Alexander II the Hasmonean2 d. 0049 B.C.

Mother Alexandra the Hasmonean2 b. 0101 B.C., d. 0028 B.C.

Mariamne the Hasmonean died 0029 B.C.. She was put to death for adultery at the instigation of Herod's sister Salome, and Mariamne's mother, Alexandra.3,4 She was a witness where Herod I "the Great", King of Judaea saw executed, through the instigation of his sister, Salome, and his mother-in-law, Alexandra, his wife Mariamne's grandfather, Alexandra's father and the Hasmonean High Priest, Alexandra's own daughter Mariamne, and then Alexandra herself 0030-0028 B.C.5 Mariamne the Hasmonean married Herod I "the Great", King of Judaea, son of Antipater II, procurator of Judaea and Cypros of Petra, 0037 B.C; His 2nd.4,5,6 A contract for the marriage of Mariamne the Hasmonean and Herod I "the Great", King of Judaea was signed 0042 B.C.. Betrothal.6 Mariamne the Hasmonean was the daughter of Alexander II the Hasmonean and Alexandra the Hasmonean.2 Mariamne the Hasmonean was born 0057 B.C. At circa.4 She was [grand] daughter of Hyrcanus.7 She was famed for her beauty.6 She was a Jewish princess, and a popular heroine in both Jewish and Christian traditions.4 Herod's marriage to her served to unite his family with the deposed Hasmonean royal family (Maccabees) and helped legitimize his position.4

Family Herod I "the Great", King of Judaea b. 0073 B.C., d. 0004 B.C., March/April


◦Alexander of Judaea+ b. 0030 B.C., d. 0007 B.C.7

◦Aristobulus IV of Judaea+ b. 0031 B.C., d. 0007 B.C.2,8

Forrás / Source:

ID: I64682

Name: Mariamne I of Judea

Given Name: Mariamne I

Surname: of Judea

Name: Miriamne OF

Given Name: Miriamne

Surname: OF JUDEA

Sex: F

_UID: 615A4B669485664A961E38828885597E8716

Change Date: 6 Oct 2005

Death: deceased

Father: Alexander Hasmonean Maccabeus

Mother: Alexandra of Judea

Marriage 1 Herod of Judea b: ABT 73 BC


-1. Alexander of Judea

-2. Salampsio of Judea

-3. Aristobulus IV of Judea

Forrás / Source:


Wagner, Sir Anthony Richard; ‘Pedigree and Progress: Essays in the Genealogical Interpretation of History’

view all 14

Marianne I Hasmonean, 2nd wife King Herod's Timeline


Mariamme was the daughter of Alexander, Aristobulus II’s son, and Alexandra, Hyrcanus II’s daughter. Her grandfathers were the two rival Hasmoneans who invited Rome to intervene in Judaean internal affairs and eventually brought about the downfall of the Hasmonean kingdom. Abraham Schalit calculates that her father and mother could have been married only between 55 and 49 B.C.E., after Alexander’s revolt against Rome was crushed and before his own execution at the hands of the Romans (Ant. 14:125). She was thus probably born in 54 B.C.E.

Age 18
Age 20
Judea, Israel
Age 21

Birth date est around time period btwn elder sister's birth & mother's death.

Age 22