(born 73 BCdied March/April, 4 BC, Jericho, Judaea) Roman-appointed king of Judaea (37–4 BC). A practicing Jew, he was of Arab origin. He was critical to imperial control of Judaea, despite his earlier support of Mark Antony, and the Roman emperor increased his territory. Judaea prospered under his early reign, during which he increased trade and built fortresses, aqueducts, and theatres, but he could not give full rein to his desire to build and thrive because he feared the Pharisees, Judaism's controlling faction, who viewed him as a foreigner. He lost favour through increasing cruelty, manifest in the murder of his wife, her sons, and other relatives. His grip on his kingdom weakened as he became increasingly mentally unstable and physically debilitated. He killed his eldest son, and he slew the infants of Bethlehem (seeJesus). He died shortly after a bungled suicide attempt.