Herod Agrippa II
King in parts of Judea
Born27/28 AD
Diedc. 92 or 100
Marcus Julius Agrippa
DynastyHerodian dynasty
FatherHerod Agrippa I

Herod Agrippa II (Hebrew: אגריפס; AD 27/28[1] – c. 92 or 100[1][2]), officially named Marcus Julius Agrippa and sometimes shortened to Agrippa, was the last ruler from the Herodian dynasty, reigning over territories outside of Judea as a Roman client. Agrippa II fled Jerusalem in 66, fearing the Jewish uprising and supported the Roman side in the First Jewish–Roman War.

Early life

Herod Agrippa II was the son of the first and better-known Herod Agrippa and the brother of Berenice, Mariamne, and Drusilla (second wife of the Roman procurator Antonius Felix).[3] He was educated at the court of the emperor Claudius, and at the time of his father's death he was only seventeen years old. Claudius therefore kept him at Rome, and sent Cuspius Fadus as procurator of the Roman province of Judaea. While at Rome, he voiced his support for the Jews to Claudius, and against the Samaritans and the procurator of Iudaea Province, Ventidius Cumanus, who was lately thought to have been the cause of some disturbances there.[1]

Rise in power

Map of Palestine in the time of Agrippa II.
Schematic family tree showing the Herods of the Bible

On the death of king Herod of Chalcis in 48, his small Syrian realm of Chalcis was given to Agrippa, with the right of superintending the Temple in Jerusalem and appointing its high priest, but only as a tetrarch.[4][5]

In 53, Agrippa was forced to give up the tetrarchy of Chalcis but in exchange Claudius made him ruler with the title of king over the territories previously governed by Philip, namely, Iturea, Trachonitis, Batanea, Gaulanitis, Auranitis and Paneas, as well as the kingdom of Lysanias in Abila.[6][7][8] The tetrarchy of Chalcis was subsequently in 57 given to his cousin, Aristobulus (Acts 25:13; 26:2,7). Herod Agrippa celebrated by marrying off his two sisters Mariamne and Drusilla. Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, repeats the gossip that Agrippa lived in an incestuous relationship with his sister, Berenice.

In 55, the Emperor Nero added to Agrippa's realm the cities of Tiberias and Taricheae in Galilee, and Livias (Iulias), with fourteen villages near it, in Peraea.

Nikolai Bodarevsky, 1875, Apostle Paul on Trial. Agrippa and Berenice are both seated on thrones.

It was before Agrippa and his sister Berenice that, according to the New Testament, Paul the Apostle pleaded his case at Caesarea Maritima, probably in 59 or 60 (Acts 26).

Agrippa expended large sums in beautifying Jerusalem and other cities, especially Berytus (ancient Beirut), a Hellenised city in Phoenicia. His partiality for the latter rendered him unpopular amongst his own subjects, and the capricious manner in which he appointed and deposed the high priests made him disliked by his coreligionists.

During the Jewish–Roman War

In the seventeenth year of Agrippa's reign (corresponding with the 12th year of Nero's reign, or 65/66 AD), Agrippa tried desperately to avert a war with Rome,[9] when he saw his countrymen generally disposed to fight against Rome, because of insults and abuses they had been facing under the Roman procurator, Gessius Florus. At this time, they had broken off the cloisters leading from Antonia Fortress to the Temple Mount where Roman soldiers went to keep guard during the Jewish holidays, and they refused to pay the due tribute to Rome.[10] Agrippa convened the people and urged them to tolerate the temporary injustices done to them and submit themselves to Roman hegemony. At length, Agrippa failed to prevent his subjects from rebelling, whereas, during a certain holiday when the Roman governor of Syria, Cestius Gallus, had passed through Judea to quell the rebellion, he was routed by Jewish forces.[11] By 66 the citizenry of Jerusalem expelled their king, Agrippa, and his sister, Berenice, from Jerusalem.[1] During the First Jewish–Roman War of 66–73, he sent 2,000 men, archers and cavalry, to support Roman general Vespasian, showing that, although a Jew, he was entirely devoted to the Roman Empire.[2] He accompanied Vespasian's son Titus on part of his campaigns against the rebels,[1] and was wounded at the siege of Gamla. After the capture of Jerusalem, he went with his sister Berenice to Rome, where he was invested with the dignity of praetor and rewarded with additional territory.

Relations with Josephus

Agrippa had a great intimacy with the historian Josephus, having supplied him with information for his history, Antiquities of the Jews.[2] Josephus preserved two of the letters he received from him.[12][13][14]


According to the patriarch Photius I of Constantinople, Agrippa died childless at the age of seventy, in the third year of the reign of Trajan, that is, 100,[15] but statements of historian Josephus, in addition to the contemporary epigraphy from his kingdom, cast this date into serious doubt.[citation needed] The modern scholarly consensus holds that he died before 93/94.[1] He was the last ruler from the House of Herod.


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Rajak, Tessa (1996), "Iulius Agrippa (2) II, Marcus", in Hornblower, Simon (ed.), Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  2. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Agrippa, Herod, II." . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 425.
  3. ^ Public Domain Mason, Charles Peter (1870). "Agrippa, Herodes II". In Smith, William (ed.). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Vol. 1. p. 78.
  4. ^ Public Domain Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Agrippa II". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.: "In the year 50, without regard to the rights of the heir to the throne, he had himself appointed… to the kingdom of Chalcis by the emperor, and also to the supervisorship of the Temple at Jerusalem, which carried with it the right of nominating the high priest."
  5. ^ Herod Agrippa II at Livius.org
  6. ^ Josephus, Antiquities (book 20, chapter 7, verse 1); Josephus, Wars of the Jews (book 2, chapter 12, verse 8).
  7. ^ Hoehner, Harold W. (1980) [1972]. Herod Antipas. Contemporary evangelical perspectives: biblical history. Vol. 17. Zondervan. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-31042251-8. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  8. ^ Orr, James, ed. (2018) [1939]. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Delmarva. p. 6669. Retrieved 2016-09-16.
  9. ^ Josephus, De Bello Judaico (Wars of the Jews) ii.xiv.§ 4
  10. ^ Josephus (Wars) ii.xv.§ 6; ii.xvi.§ 5.
  11. ^ Josephus (Wars) ii.xix.§ 2
  12. ^ Josephus. AJ. 17.5.4..; Josephus. AJ. 19.9.2.. and endnote 1 ; Josephus. AJ. 20.1.3.. ; Josephus. AJ. 20.5.2.. ; Josephus. AJ. 20.7.1.. ; Josephus. AJ. 20.7.8.. ; Josephus. AJ. 20.8.4.. ; Josephus. AJ. 11.9.4..
  13. ^ Josephus. BJ. 2.11.6.. ; Josephus. BJ. 2.12  §1,16.. ; Josephus. BJ. 2.17.1.. ; Josephus. BJ. 4.1.3..
  14. ^ Josephus. Vit. 1.1.54..
  15. ^ Photius cod. 33


Further reading

Herod Agrippa II House of Herod Preceded byHerod of Chalcis Tetrarch of Chalcis 48–53 VacantTitle next held byAristobulus of Chalcis VacantTitle last held byHerod Agrippa King of Batanaea 53–100 Title extinct