January 7, 2022

Bruce Chilton, "The Herods," pp. 43-44

Although Rome occupied the position of an overlord, the contest between Caesar and Pompey had produced uncertainty and raised expectations among some in the new and expanded Judea that Roman rule in the historic territories of Israel might be overthrown. After all, by this time, seemingly greater empires - Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Greek - had come and gone; the claim that Rome might also be uprooted was attractive to all who yearned for self-rule.
Young Herod, twenty-seven years old when he assumed command in Galilee, ... made a stunning impression. Taller than average ... his black hair and beard framed dark eyes, and his handsome head crowned an athlete's body.  ...although his accomplishment was strictly at a practical level of communication rather than as a trained speaker. Nonetheless, on several occasions, his ability to give powerful speeches ... to those under his command, within the temple, before emperors, and once before the Senate in Rome - allowed for his success.