Note "Take Five" was a famous song by Dave Brubeck! But, speaking about ancient history?
Nero, a not so subtle name, almost a "hero?", but maybe a "Hero-d?" Herod was "foreign born" from as I remember Ideumea?, or what ever? But, the real deal about Herod, is the extent of his building projects in the Levant! Wow, did anyone else in the history of Israel do more building than he? Just look at the record of his "retreats / fortreses around the Dead Sea! Masada, Herodion, Jericho, etc., add to this his project on the Med., Caesaria!, and all of his projects in Jerusalem itself! I am sure I have left out half a dozen of projects attributed to him.
So, what could possibly make this man so rich? My suggestion, is the vast deposits of salts, soda, asphalts, and other minerals available from the Dead Sea area! These products became the most valuable materials in the European area when and if sea levels were not to be depended upon, something that could have occured during this very period. As a matter of fact, there exists some real evidence that the sea levels in this great rift valley varied a great deal during this same period of time, and there exists other evidence that the sea levels around the Med. area, varied extensively from place to place, thus putting evaporative methods of salt production from sea water out of service for long periods!
This, of course tends to make us think that the weather during these times was a lot more unstable than it is today! This also indicates that the demand for salts, remained the same, and the supply of the product, which the Med. world of then, (and the same thing exists today), suddenly decreased, meant that the price of the product had to rise. Simple economics! Thus, if anyone had control of the mining of the vast salt and mineral deposits that exist in and around the Dead Sea, then you for a time at least, became the most important person in the world of Med. area! Remember, at one time, salt was worth it's weight in Gold, maybe more?
But, where am I going with this? Well good old Nero, is also famous for his building projects, after all he had to rebuild Rome, after a large part of it burned!
I will skip a lot of material I could include here but I will just suggest that someone with the name Nero, was also considered in another place as Herod! Thus Herod = Nero!
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.