Hi Tim, You mentioned: "It does describe an element of Herod which (imho) never gets enough attention: Herod's use of architecture as both a means of control and of intimidation. This speaks to some of my pet theories about patterns of dynastic leadership. The presence of public works of such size and scale in Rome, Greece, Egypt, and Palestine is more than a coincidence, and underscores the close relationship in the goals and methods of the ruling dynasties in each country."
One of the functions of a king was to provide jobs for all the people their societies produced. As Charles has shown "Exodus" events were such when the rulers determined that there were way too may people for their natural resources to handle. Thus, they would move people elswhere. Prior to capitalism, there really was nothing else they could do - except make wars.
PS Re: herod. (Barbara Thiering I think??) made the point that work on Herod's temple was finished in about 65 AD and the revolt began in 70 CE. Was this done by all those then out of work stone masons??
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