Salome I (ca. 65 BCE – ca. 10 CE) was the sister of Herod the Great and the mother of Berenice by her husband Costobarus, governor of Idumea.[1] She was a nominal queen regnant of the toparchy of Iamnia, Azotus, Phasaelis from 4 BCE.

Territory of Salome I, sister of Herod the Great as given to her in 4 BCE after her brother's death and the partition of his kingdom



She first married Joseph (fr:Joseph (iduméen)), whom she accused of familiarities with Mariamne I, wife of Herod, and thus procured his death.[2] She had three children by her second husband Costobarus, Antipater IV (who married Cypros II, Herod's daughter by Mariamne I), Berenice (who married first Aristobulus IV, Herod's son by the same mother, and second Theudion, brother of Herod's first wife Doris) and an unnamed daughter (who married Alexas' son Alexas, the Temple Treasurer).[3] Like her more famous granddaughter (and grandniece) Herodias, she divorced her husband in contravention of what Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 15.7.10) says were Jewish laws at the time:

"But some time afterward, when Salome happened to quarrel with Costobarus, she sent him a bill of divorce and dissolved her marriage with him, though this was not according to the Jewish laws; for with us it is lawful for a husband to do so; but a wife, if she departs from her husband, cannot of herself be married to another, unless her former husband put her away. However, Salome chose to follow not the law of her country, but the law of her authority, and so renounced her wedlock..."

After this she accused him of treason against Herod, who put him to death. Salome's third husband was Alexas (pl:Aleksas I).[2]

Berenice's children were Herodias, Herod Agrippa I, king of Judea, Herod of Chalcis and Aristobulus Minor, and Mariamne III (who may have been the first wife of her uncle, Herod Archelaus, ethnarch of Judea).

Salome I played a major background role in the court intrigues that plagued the royal family. She led Herod to execute his wife Mariamne I and their two sons. She encouraged Herod to favor his first son Antipater III. She disobeyed Herod's last command to execute the Judean elders he had detained as soon as he died.[4]

Upon the death of Herod the Great in 4 BCE, she was given a toparchy including the cities of Iamnia, Azotus, Phasaelis, and 5000 drachmae. The Roman emperor Augustus supplemented this with a royal habitation at Ascalon. While nominally queen of these areas, they were ultimately subject to the Judaean prefect.

After Salome's death, Iamnia fell to Livia, the Roman empress, and then to her son Tiberius.[5]

See also



  1. ^ Greenwalt, William (2002). "Salome (c. 65 BCE–10 CE)". Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Gale. Archived from the original on 2016-04-09.
  2. ^ a b Salome entry in The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature by James Strong and John McClintock
  3. ^ Josephus, War, p. 105
  4. ^ Salome I entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith
  5. ^ Jewish Virtual Library. Jabneh