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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Salome

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(Σαλώμη, from the Heb. שָׁלוֹ ם, i.e. peaceful), the name of several women mentioned or alluded to in the N.T. and by Josephus.

1. Called also Alexandra, the wife of Aristobulus I, king of the Jews, on whose death (B.C. 106) she released her brothers, who had been thrown by him into prison, and advanced the eldest of them (Alexander Jannaeus) to the throne (Josephus, Ant. 13:12, 1; War, 1, 4, 1). By some she has been identified with Alexandra, the wife of Alexander Jannseus. (See ALEXANDRA).

2. A daughter of Antipater by his wife Cypros, and sister of Herod the Great, one of the most wicked of women. She first married Joseph, whom she accused of familiarities with Mariamne, wife of Herod, and thus procured his death (B.C. 34). She afterwards married Costobarus; but, being disgusted with him, she put him away a license till then unheard of among the Jews, whose law (says Josephus) allows men to put away their wives, but does not allow women equal liberty (B.C. 26). After this she accused him of treason against Herod, who put him to death. She caused much division and trouble in Herod's family by her calumnies and mischievous informations; and she may be considered as the chief author of the death of the princes Alexander and Aristobulus, and of their mother Mariamne. (See ARISTOBULUS). She afterwards conceived a violent passion for an Arabian prince, called Sillaeus, whom she would have married against her brother Herod's consent; and even after she was married to Alexas, her inclination for Sillaeus was notorious. Salome survived Herod, who left her, by will, the cities of Jamnia, Azoth, and Phasaelis, with fifty thousand pieces of money. She favored Antipas against Archelaus, and died A.D. 9, a little after Archelaus had been banished to Vienne, in Dauphiny. Salome had five children by Alexas Berenice, Antipater, Calleas, and a son and a daughter whose names are not mentioned (Josephus, Ant. 15:4; 17:8) (See HEROD).

3. A daughter of Herod the Great by Elpis. In addition to what her father bequeathed to her, Augustus gave her a considerable dowry, and married her to one of the sons of Pheroras, Herod's brother (Josephus, A nf. 17:1; War, 1, 28, etc.). (See HEROD).

4. The wife of Zebedee, as appears from comparing Matthew 27:56 with Mark 15:40. It is further the opinion of many modern critics that she was that sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to whom reference is made in John 19:25. The words admit, however, of another and hitherto generally received explanation, according to which they refer to the "Mary the wife of Cleophas" immediately afterwards mentioned. In behalf of the former view, it may be urged that it gets rid of the difficulty arising out of two sisters having the same name; that it harmonizes John's narrative with those of Matthew and Mark; that this circuitous manner of describing his own mother is in character with John's manner of describing himself; that the absence of any connecting link between the second and third designations may be accounted for on the ground that the four are arranged in two distinct couplets; and, lastly, that the Peshito, the Persian, and the Aethiopic versions mark the distinction between the second and third by interpolating a conjunction. On the other hand, it may be urged that the difficulty arising out of the name may be disposed of by assumig a double marriage on the part of the father; that there is no necessity to harmonize John with Matthew and Mark, for that the time and the place in which the groups are noticed differ materially; that the language addressed to John "Behold thy mother!" favors the idea of the absence rather than of the presence of his natural mother; and that the varying traditions current in the early Church as to Salome's parents, worthless as they are in themselves, yet bear a negative testimony against the idea of her being related to the mother of Jesus. (According to one account, she was the daughter of Joseph by a former marriage [Epiphan. Hoer. 78, 8]; according to another, the wife of Joseph [Niceph. H.E. 2, 3].) Altogether, we can hardly regard the point as settled, though the weight of modern criticism is decidedly in favor of the former view (see Wieseler, in the Stud. u. Kit. [1840] p. 648). The only events recorded of Salome are that she preferred a request, on behalf of her two sons, for seats of honor in the kingdom, of heaven (Matthew 20:20); that she attended at the crucifixion of Jesus (Mark 15:40); and that she visited his sepulchre (Mark 16:1) (A.D. 26-28). She is mentioned by name only on the two latter occasions. (See ZEBEDEE).

5. The daughter of Herodias by her first husband, Herod Philip (Josephus, Ant. 18:5, 4). She is the "daughter of Herodias" noticed in Matthew 14:6 as dancing before Herod Antipas, and as procuring, at her mother's instigation, the death of John the Baptist. (See HERODIAS). She was married, in the first place, to Philip, the tetrarch of Trachonitis, her paternal uncle, who died childless; and, secondly, to her cousin Aristobulus, son of Herod, the king of Chalcis, by whom she had three sons. The legendary account of her death (Niceph. H.E. 1, 20) is a clumsy invention to the effect that Salome accompanied her mother Herodias, and her father-in-law Herod, in their banishment to Vienne, in Dauphiny; and that, the emperor having obliged them to go into Spain, as she passed over a river that was frozen, the ice broke under her feet, and she sank in up to her neck, when, the ice uniting again, she remained thus suspended by it, and suffered the same punishment she had made John the Baptist undergo. (See HEROD).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Salome'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/s/salome.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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