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(ca. 10 B.C.E -44 C.E.).King of Judea. Son of Aristobulus and grandson of Herod and Mariamne, at the age of six Agrippa was sent to Rome to be educated. He was a companion to the Roman crown prince Gaius Caligula and shared in the gay and frivolous court life. Accused of favoring the crown prince over the reigning Emperor Tiberius, he was thrown into prison. Upon Caligula’s ascent to the throne, he was released and appointed king of Galilee.

The Jews received Agrippa’s appointment with great joy. Having been subjected to Roman rule for 45 years, the appointment of Agrippa I signified liberation from foreign dominion and oppression. (When at one time he deplored the fact that he was not of pure Jewish stock, the scholars consoled him, saying, “Fear not, Agrippa, you are our brother.”) When Claudius replaced Caligula as emperor, Agrippa’s rule was extended to Samaria and Judea. A brief era of peace began, which recalled the glories of the Hasmonean period.

Agrippa planned to strengthen Jewish rule and eventually free Palestine from Roman yoke. The great hopes of his people for full independence were shattered when he died suddenly in 44 C.E. while attending the Roman games in Caesarea. It is assumed that he was poisoned by enemies of the Jews.

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