A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Ἀντίπατρος), the eldest son of HEROD the Great by his first wife, Doris (Jos. Ant. 14.12.1), a monster of wickedness and craft, whose life is briefly described by Josephus (Bell. Jud. 1.24.1) in two words--κακίας μυστὴριον. Herod, having divorced Doris and married Mariamne, B. C. 38, banished Antipater from court (Bell. Jud. 1.22.1), but recalled him afterwards, in the hope of checking, by the presence of a rival, the violence and resentment of Mariamne's sons, Alexander and Aristobulus, who were exasperated by their mother's death. Antipater now intrigued to bring his half-brothers under the suspicion of his father, and with such success, that Herod altered his intentions in their behalf, recalled Doris to court, and sent Antipater to Rome, recommending him to the favour of Augustus. (Jos. Ant. 16.3, Bell. Jud. 1.23.2.) He still continued his machinations against his brothers, and, though Herod was twice reconciled to them, yet his arts, aided by Salome and Pheroras, and especially by the Spartan Eurycles (comp. Plut. Ant. p. 947b.), succeeded at length in bringing about their death, B. C. 6. (Jos. Ant. 16.4-11, Bell. Jud. 1.23-27.) Having thus removed his rivals, and been declared successor to the throne, he entered into a plot against his father's life with his uncle Pheroras ; and, to avoid suspicion, contrived to get himself sent to Rome, taking with him, for the approbation of Augustus, Herod's altered will. But the investigation occasioned by the death of Pheroras (whom his wife was suspected of poisoning) brought to light Antipater's murderous designs, chiefly through the disclosures of the wife of Pheroras, of Antipater's own freedman, and of his steward, Antipater the Samaritan. He was accordingly recalled from Rome, and kept in ignorance of the charges against him till his arrival at Jerusalem. Here he was arraigned by Nicolaus of Damascus before Quintilius Varus, the Roman governor of Syria, and the sentence against him having been confirmed by Augustus (who recommended, however, a mitigation of it in the shape of banishment), he was executed in prison, five days before the termination of Herod's mortal illness, and in the same year as the massacre of the innocents. (Jos. Ant. 17.1-7, Bell. Jud. 1.28-33; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 1.8.12.) The death of Antipater probably called forth the well-known sarcasm of Augustus : " Melius est Herodis porcum esse quam filium." (Macrob. Saturn. 2.4.)