Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Elizabeth McCahill

Second Advisor

Olivia Weisser

Third Advisor

Randall Colaizzi


This thesis explores the material culture of the Herodian dynasty of Judea during the First Century AD. It brings together analysis of coins, tombs, temples (especially the Second Temple in Jerusalem) and other material artifacts sponsored by the Herodians. The thesis focuses on Herod the Great but also examines the ways in which his successors, especially Agrippa I and Agrippa II, developed his approach to architectural and artistic patronage. The thesis argues that Herod and his successors were not as insensitive to their subjects and contemporaries as has sometimes been argued by scholars. Through examination of artistic elements used in material artifacts, large and small, it posits that they carefully calibrated their patronage to communicate and promote their political, social, and cultural agendas. Rather than targeting their material culture at one audience over another, the Herodians used their material to communicate with the Jewish, Roman and Hellenistic communities of the Roman Empire. The use of artistic elements from multiple cultures and intentional use of iconographical ambiguity aided the Herodians in their policies as they sought to mediate the process of Romanization in Judea. As such the cultural works and policies of the Herodians must be understood as the balancing of cultures within the context of Romanization.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Thesis is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this thesis through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.