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herodion500

Herodion is a volcano-like hill with a truncated cone located near the city of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Herod the Great built a fortress and palace on the top of Herodium, and may have been buried there. Herodium is 758 meters (2,487 ft) above sea level.

In 40 BCE, after the Parthian conquest of Syria, Herod fled to Masada. On the way, at the location of Herodion, Herod clashed with the Parthians and emerged victorious. According to the Roman Jewish historian Josephus, he "built a town on that spot in commemoration of his victory, and enhanced it with wonderful palaces... and he called it Herodion after himself".

Josephus describes Herodion as follows: "This fortress, which is some sixty stadia distant from Jerusalem, is naturally strong and very suitable for such a structure, for reasonably nearby is a hill, raised to a (greater) height by the hand of man and rounded off in the shape of a breast. At intervals it has round towers, and it has a steep ascent formed of two hundred steps of hewn stone. Within it are costly royal apartments made for security and for ornament at the same time. At the base of the hill there are pleasure grounds built in such a way as to be worth seeing, among other things because of the way in which water, which is lacking in that place, is brought in from a distance and at great expense. The surrounding plain was built up as a city second to none, with the hill serving as an acropolis for the other dwellings." (The Wars of the Jews I, 21, 10; Antiquities of the Jews XIV, chapter 13.9).

Herodium was conquered and destroyed by the Romans in 71 CE. At the beginning of the Bar Kokhba revolt sixty years later, Simon bar Kokhba declared Herodium as his secondary headquarters. Archaeological evidence for the revolt was found all over the site, from the outside buildings to the water system under the mountain. Inside the water system, supporting walls built by the rebels were discovered, and another system of caves was found. Inside one of the caves, burned wood was found which was dated to the time of the revolt.

on May 8, 2007 the tomb of Herod has been discovered, above tunnels and water pools at a flattened site halfway up the hill to Herodium , 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Jerusalem, at the precise location given by Josephus in his writings. Later excavations strengthened the idea that this site is Herod's mausoleum. The base of the tomb has now been uncovered and is visible to visitors to the site. The 2009-2010 excavations uncovered near the tomb base a small 450-seat capacity theater with an elaborately decorated royal theater box.

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