Princess of Galilee

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Oscar Wilde got it wrong. The famous dancer of seven veils did not die in the fall of Jerusalem, but of old age in a villa in Greece. Salome, daughter of Herodias, and princess of Galilee, survived her infamous dance to become the toast of Rome. We often embroider our characters in history with all sorts of by-play, innuendo, and presumption. Salome has come down to us as a strumpet – a girl without a motive, a toy. However, what was she really like? We can piece together from history a person who wove her own story, stood up for herself when no one else would, and knew everyone. She lived with three kings, was presented at the court of four emperors, and was made a Basilia, (client queen), of the Roman Empire. Coins survive with her portrait, twinned with her husband Aristobolus, a signal honor for a woman of her time. Her unique dishing out of justice at her stepfather’s famous birthday banquet has made her a legend, but know the facts. Her just desserts were a kingdom and a crown, a villa, and a peaceable old age.

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