Berenice (daughter of Herod Agrippa I)

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Berenice of Cilicia, also known as Julia Berenice and sometimes spelled Bernice (28 AD – ?), was a Jewish client queen of the Roman Empire during the second half of the 1st century. Berenice was a member of the Herodian Dynasty, who ruled the Roman province of Judaea between 39 BC and 92 AD. She was the daughter of King Herod Agrippa I, and sister of King Herod Agrippa II.

What little is known about the life and background of Berenice has been handed down to us through the New Testament book of Acts, the 25th chapter. Also the early historian Flavius Josephus, who detailed a history of the Jewish people and wrote an account of the Jewish Rebellion of 67. It is for her tumultuous love life however that Berenice is primarily known today. After a number of failed marriages throughout the 40s, she spent much of the remainder of her life at court of her brother Agrippa II, amidst rumors the two were carrying on an incestuous relationship. During the First Jewish-Roman War, she began a love affair with the future emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus. Her unpopularity among the Romans however compelled Titus to dismiss Berenice upon his accession as emperor in 79. When he died two years later, so did Berenice disappear from the historical record.


Early life

Berenice was born in 28[1] to Herod Agrippa and Cypros, as granddaughter to Aristobulus IV and great-granddaughter to Herod the Great. Her elder brother was Agrippa II (b. 27), and her younger sisters were Mariamne (b. 34) and Drusilla (b. 38).[2][3] According to Josephus, there was also a younger brother called Drusus, who died before his teens.[2] Her family constituted part of what is known as the Herodian Dynasty, who ruled the Judaea Province between 39 BC and 92.

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