A Roman appointee, he was not popular among most Jews. Because his mother was Arab, he was generally not considered to be Jewish.
In order to win favor, he instituted large-scale building projects in Judaea, largely with Roman funds. These included a new Temple, new port city, aqueducts, and other such projects. The classical style of these buildings, though, was troublesome to many Jews.
He ruled cruelly, often lashing out mercilessly against his enemies. He killed many Essenes and burned down their communes.
Although there is no confirmation from other sources, the New Testament story of the Slaughter of the Innocents seems to fit well with what we know of him.
Taxes were farmed out to collectors, who sought to make a profit at the expense of the taxpayers.
The additional problem of the morality of paying taxes to an occupation force further trou- Herod bled Jews. by James Tissot, 1886
In 66 A.D., Zealot groups killed the Roman troops stationed in Jerusalem and began the Jewish Revolt.
A relief force from Syria was also defeated, leading many Jews to embrace the revolt.
The Roman legions arrived to put down the rebellion, led first by Vespasian and then by his son Titus. In 70 A.D., Titus captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple.
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