[St. Pachomius Library]


I Century
Unnamed in the gospel accounts of the death of John the Baptist, the daughter of Herodias and Philip is identified in Josephus' Antiquities as Salome, whose dancing so pleased her stepfather Herod the Tetrarch that he promised her anything, up to half his kingdom. At her mother's advice, she requested the head of the prophet who had spoken against the marriage of Herod and Herodias. Josephus says that Salome married another Philip, tetrarch of Trachonitis. Tradition adds that this marriage was childless and that Salome later married Aristabulus, with whom she had three sons. The legend that she died as ice, which had broken under her weight, closed in around her neck is now dismissed as fanciful justice.

Her dance has been a popular theme in the visual arts since the Middle Ages. Mediæval and Renaissance artists portray her as a child; in the XIX Century, she came to be associated with the dance of the seven veils and with erotic desire.

Karen Rae Keck


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