Mariamna, the wife of Herod the Great, king of Judea, belonged to the royal family of the Maccabees, Herod’s enemies, and was killed by him in 37. Herod and his two sons from Mariamna, Alexander and Aristobulus, were killed. The people of Judah regarded the king of Herod as a despot and stranger: he was put on the throne by Romans, whom he knew how to please, and he came from Judea, a desert land south of the Dead Sea. The same Romans helped Herod to master his own capital – Jerusalem. Undoubtedly, King Herod was able to inspire fear – his cruelty and rapture, coupled with a sharp mind and strong will, made him a dangerous enemy. But there was love of love in Herod and love of beauty. And although he treated the priests and their rituals with derision, it was they who undertook the restoration of the Jerusalem temple, for the course of which the tsar watched in person, having arranged the construction so that it does not interfere with the performance of religious rites. It was rumored that the building of this king started out of pride – to glorify his own name in the centuries. Rumor generally attributed to Herod many vices. For certain it is only known that in love Herod was rude and cruel: after satisfying his passion, he was filled with a woman of disgust and often changed concubines, giving them to his associates. The more surprising was what happened to him once at the city gate on the road leading to Damascus. he was filled with a woman of disgust
Herod first saw Mariamna, who struck him to the core. Although Herod did not even have time to properly discern the girl, he noticed only that she was young and fair-haired. He began to search for Mariamna, without resorting to the help of his spies, they would have stained her face. Suddenly, Mariamna came to the palace herself – to ask for the boy, his relative, who had rushed to the guard Herod. The boy wanted to avenge the executed father – one of the Maccabees. Turning to Herod for pardon, Mariamna thus exposed himself to terrible danger. The king appreciated her courage; he did not know yet what else she could not do. He dismissed the boy, but told Mariamne that he was doing it only for her.
The news of unheard-of intercession spread throughout the city. Such it was not possible to anybody yet. Mariamne was turned to women whose sons or husbands were captured by Herod. She did not refuse anyone and could help many, but not all. Her duty to Herod was growing, and she was in fear expecting to follow. At last the moment came when the king asked Mariamna to become his wife.
On the wedding night, Herod’s frantic passion frightened her. Although Herod also tried to be more restrained and careful with her than with others, he still could not tame Mariamna. She understood that she did not love him, and only tried to please him, to soften his temper and subdue cruelty. And she tried not to stop at the thought of what she could not stand in him.
Mariamne succeeded and much more. The Tsar let go of almost all the prisoners he held in the dungeons of the palace, having executed only the most implacable of his enemies. The people of Jerusalem praised the queen. And the relatives of Mariamna hated her, considering her a traitor. But she did not know about it. The old servant, who brought her news of relatives, was silent about this.
Time passed, and the Tsar’s passion for Mariamne did not abate, he had never before known a woman like her. Herod really loved her. And there was growing resentment in him. Herod was far from stupid and gradually realized that Mariamna was only trying to please him, but he did not like him. The Tsar suffered, but suffered humiliation, showing no resentment. Then he began to show in every possible way that Mariamna did not really need him, and stopped touching her. So he expressed love.
Soon the tsar learned with anger that the boy whom he had let go fled to the mountains, where the Maccabees had gathered an army against him. Previously, the attacking side was always Herod, but this time the Maccabees were the first, and the king’s troops suffered one defeat after another, then Herod himself marched on the campaign. During the decisive battle in which he won, he saw a fugitive boy in the camp of the enemy, attacked him and cut his sword from shoulder to heart. Herod’s companions were very surprised by his deed: the boy was practically defenseless.
Returning, Herod rushed to his knees in front of Mariamna, and without a word began to pray that she forgive him for his cruelty – Mariamna knew what had happened to her relative, and blamed himself for his death. She forgave the Tsar: she wanted to regain her influence on him, and yet, as she herself admitted involuntarily, he needed her wakened female body. So she felt doubly guilty.
The people sighed again with relief. But not for long. Herod became more restless, he increasingly fell into suspicion and disbelief. There came a moment when he openly told Mariamne: she does not like him, he notices it every time she lies down with her, she is already giving out herself so that she tries so hard to show him fervor and passion, which she does not feel at all. After this explanation, Herod again went out with the army to the mountains to fight the Maccabees, and for Mariamna came calm and solitary days; at this time she finally found out that they had been hiding from her: her relatives had refused her. Mariamne, who met Mariamne in the square near the well, cousin pretended not to notice her.
When Herod reappeared in Jerusalem, he told Mariamne that now he would have other women. And he again led the palace in the old order. Of course, slutty women disgusted him. But disgust strangely only fueled lust in him.
Black days came again. People were seized in their homes, and then they disappeared. The dungeons of the palace were filled with prisoners, and the chambers – painted with harlots. They needed Herod not only for lust, but also for the humiliation of Mariamna. His heart and in love remained evil.
One day he began to reprimand Mariamne for the fact that she tolerates such a life and does not notice what is going on around him, does not shame and does not condemn him for unspokenness. Is it so right to behave like a real queen? .. But, glancing at Mariamna, Herod broke off… He did not meet her until her death.
The old servant, who was bringing Mariamne news about her relatives, Herod ordered to kill. She certainly helped the enemies of the king secretly communicate with his wife. Moreover, Herod suspected the conspiracy and Mariamna herself. She was just the perfect figure for a conspiracy! Of course, the king knew that this was not true. But he constantly persuaded himself of this. Like many passionate and cruel natures, he was very afraid of death. And he was manic suspicious. Herod carefully concealed from himself what was the cause of his thoughts that had overwhelmed him. And he did not admit to himself in those dark motives that hid at the bottom of his muddy soul.
And the people of Jerusalem still loved the meek queen, although now she could do nothing more for him.
Herod hesitated. Can he continue to tolerate this woman next to him? She lived right next to him. A strange woman he had not seen for a long time. Is it dangerous! That’s enough! We must put an end to this!
The king hired an assassin. Both physique and face were very much like him. For some reason, from the multitude of people ready to fulfill his command, the king chose this man. Herod saddled his horse and left Jerusalem. On the way, he turned his horse back and galloped back to his full support. But he knew that he would not make it. When Herod burst into the palace, Mariamna was already dying: he collapsed before her on his knees, wringing his hands and repeating only one word: “Beloved, beloved…”
Soon he ordered to grab the killer and bring him to him. He himself hacked him with the sword. The killer did not resist.
After the death of Mariamna, the king’s life did not change at all. She, as before, was in anger, hatred and pleasure of vice. Moreover, the vices of the king multiplied with time. In the end, he managed to destroy all the men dangerous for his power from the Maccabean tribe. There was no hope left for the suffering people under his yoke.
But the king did not forget Mariamna. He was sick, old, he was more and more overcome by the fear of death. The Magi informed him of the birth of the King of Judea. Herod followed them and found out that the baby was born in the small town of Bethlehem. He ordered then to kill all the boys in that city and around him, but when his terrible will was fulfilled, the baby with the parents was already far away.
King Herod was left alone. All the servants and servants left him. In the lonely days of old age, he often recalled Mariamna. One night, bypassing her chambers, he collapsed to the floor, repeating her name. The great king Herod was only a man. He lived his life on earth.