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The Children of Aristobulus IV

Aristobulus IV was the eldest son of Herod the Great and his royal Hasmonean wife Mariamne I. After Aristobulus IV's recall to Jerusalem from education in Rome, he married Bernice, daughter of Herod's sister Salome and second husband Costobarus. Herod being Herod executed Aristobulus IV in 7 BCE at the age of 24 leaving five children Josephus refers to as "infants". See Antiquities, Book XVII 5:4.
"Aristobulus had Herod, and Agrippa, and Aristobulus, his sons, with Herodias and Mariamne, his daughters, and all by Bernice, Salome's daughter. As for Glaphyra, Herod, as soon as he had killed Alexander, sent her back, together with her portion, to Cappadocia. He married Bernice, Aristobulus's daughter, to Antipater's uncle by his mother [Theudion] ... ." Jewish Wars, Book I 28:1 (emphasis added).
There is an inconsistency in this paragraph. The first sentance lists the children of Aristobulus naming two daughters, Mariamne and Herodias. The third sentance says, "Bernice, Aristobulus's daughter" was married off to Theudion? I suggest Josephus has erred in this paragraph and meant to say "Bernice, Aristobulus's wife" married Theudion. Why? Theudion, the maternal uncle of Antipater, was an Idumaean prince. Bernice, if she were a daughter of Aristobulus, would be a highly prized Hasmonean princess making it unlikely that she would be married off to a lesser Idumaean prince. Bernice, the daughter of Salome, was not of the royal Hasmonean blood so marriage to Theudion makes more sense in that case. Also, the Herodian naming pattern for females was to use the names of grandmothers, not mothers. Thus, It would be unusual for Bernice bat to have a daughter also named Bernice. Finally, the language of Antiquities, Book XVII backs up this position. FN1. For these reasons, I propose to rewrite the above-quotes sentance from Jewish Wars as, "He married Bernice, [Costobarus]'s daughter, to Antipater's uncle ... ."

The two daughters of Aristobulus (Mariamne and Herodias) both married kings (brothers Herod Archelaus and Herod Antipas, respectively). Two of the three sons of Aristobulus became kings (Herod Agrippa and Herod ben Aristobulus) Herod Agrippa become king of the Jews under Caligula ruling, for a short time, all the lands of his grandfather Herod. His brother Herod became king of Chalcis. As to the third brother, Aristobulus, we know very little. Below are the quotes from Josephus about the third son of Aristobulus IV:
Aristobulus, the third brother of Agrippa, married Jotape, the daughter of Sampsigeramus, king of Emesa; they had a daughter who was deaf, whose name also was Jotape. Antiquities, Book XVIII 5:4.
Hereupon Flaccus received [Agrippa] kindly, and he lived with him. Flaccus had also with him there Aristobulus, who was indeed Agrippa's brother, but was at variance with him; yet did not their enmity to one another hinder the friendship of Flaccus to them both, but still they were honorably treated by him. However, Aristobulus did not abate of his ill-will to Agrippa, till at length he brought him into ill terms with Flaccus; the occasion of bringing on which estrangement was this: [Aristobulus found out Agrippa took a bribe and reported him for it to the Roman authorities]. Antiquities, Book XVII 6:3.
Now after this, Herod the king of Chalcis died, and left behind him two sons, born to him of his brother's daughter Bernice; their names were Bernie Janus and Hyrcanus. [He also left behind him] Aristobulus, whom he had by his former wife Mariamne. There was besides another brother of his that died a private person, his name was also Aristobulus, who left behind him a daughter, whose name was Jotape: and these, as I have formerly said, were the children of Aristobulus the son of Herod." Jewish Wars, Book II 11:6.
To sum up, Aristobulus V (or Aristobulus ben Aristobulus) married Jotape, had a deaf daughter also named Jotape, died a private man (i.e., wasn't given a kingdom), and had a serious falling out with his brother Agrippa.


Add Comment Religion Index Page

FN1 "Although Antipater's uncle by the mother's side was married to [Salome's] daughter, and this by his own connivance and management, while she had before been married to Aristobulus ... ." Antiquities, Book XVII 1:1. Salome's daugther married to Aristobulus was Bernice. Therefore, the daughter of Salome later married to Thendion (uncle of Antipater), had to be her daughter Bernice.

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