The commander of Nebuchadnezzar's army in
the Book of Judith.
He is easily fooled by Judith into supposing
that she is his ally, a kind of psychic spy
who will reveal when the Israelites have sinned
and are therefore vulnerable to defeat. He
also convinces himself that she can be
seduced, and invites her to his tent. These
mistakes cost the general his life and the
army its victory.
Like the other characters in Judith,
Holofernes is difficult or impossible to
place historically. Spiritually, he represents
lust, arrogance, and in general those vices
directly opposite to Judith's virtues.
In some patristic sources he even represents
death or Satan. See the Judith page for
--- Norman Hugh Redington
Under construction --- far from complete! Read with caution.
- Namesakes from Ancient History:
- Holofernes the Commander: Cappadocian prince
and general, the younger brother of King Ariarathes II.
He was loaned to the Persian army for a campaign against
Egypt, either in 351 or 343 BC, and was decorated by
the Persian Great King Artaxerxes III Ochus for his valour
[Diodorus Siculus, Hist. XXXI, xix, 2]. Ochus
is one candidate for the real "Nebuchadnezzar"
[St. Sulpitius Severus, Hist. Sac. II, xiv],
but according to Diodorus this Holofernes died at home
- King Holofernes of Cappadocia: A descendant of
Holofernes the Commander who usurped the throne from
Ariarathes V in 158 BC. This Holofernes is portrayed
by Diodorus as an incompetent and tyrannical ruler
who eventually looted the country's temples to pay
his troops, but nothing else in his career especially
suggests the Biblical Holofernes
[Diodorus Siculus, Hist. XXXI, xxxii].
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