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Herodian architecture is a style of classical architecture characteristic of the numerous building projects undertaken during the reign (37 BC - 4 BC) of Herod the Great, the Roman client king of Judea. Herod undertook many colossal building projects, most famously his reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (ca. 19 BC).
Herod introduced numerous architectural innovations and construction techniques in his buildings, such as the domes inside the Double Gate to the Temple Mount. He adapted the mikveh — a Jewish ritual bath — for use as the frigidarium in the Roman-style bathhouses in his many palaces. Herod also developed an innovative combination of palace and fortress; examples include the Antonia Fortress in Jerusalem and the Herodium in the Judean Desert about 2 miles south of Bethlehem. Characteristically, they have (or had) one tower higher and stronger than the others. Herod’s fortification innovations strongly influenced the military architecture of subsequent generations.
Herod avoided the representation of human and animal figures even in the closed and private parts of his palaces.
In the eighteenth year of his reign (20–19 BC), Herod rebuilt the Second Temple in Jerusalem on "a more magnificent scale". The new Temple was finished in a year and a half, although work on out-buildings and courts continued another eighty years. To comply with religious law, Herod employed a thousand priests as masons and carpenters for the rebuilding. The finished temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, is often referred to as Herod's Temple. The Wailing Wall (Western Wall) in Jerusalem was for many years the only section now visible of the four retaining walls built by Herod to create a flat platform (the Temple Mount) upon which the Temple was constructed.
Major Herodian building projects
- The Palace-fortress at Masada (37-31 BC)
- The Palace-fortress at Herodium (?? BC)
- Complex of Roman public facilities, Jerusalem (?? BC)
- Theater, amphitheater, hippodrome (Never found, may be fictitious)
- The Royal Complex at Lower Herodium (Palace, Herod's Tomb, etc) (?? BC)
- Three Winter Palaces, Jericho (?? BC)
- Caesarea Maritima and its harbor (25–13 BC)
- First and second temples in honor of Augustus (locations unknown)
- Third temple for Augustus, probably at Omrit (ca 20 BC)
- The Temple Mount (with Herod's Temple and Antonia Fortress), Jerusalem (ca 19 BC)
- Renovation of the Pool of Siloam
- Jerusalem water channel
- Jerusalem pilgrim road