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CYPROS (first century c.e.), mother of *Herod. She was descended from a noble Nabatean family and married *Antipater, the Idumean, to whom she bore four sons, *Phasael, Herod, Joseph, *Pheroras, and a daughter, Salome. At the court of Herod, Cypros, supported by her daughter Salome, was in constant conflict with Herod's wife, *Mariamne the Hasmonean, and her mother Alexandra, who mocked at her descent. Cypros and Salome hence succeeded in inciting Herod against his wife. Before Herod left for Rhodes to meet *Augustus, he left the members of his family at Masada, but he sent Mariamne and her mother in the charge of two faithful servants to Alexandreion. The bitter domestic rivalry led directly to Herod's execution of Mariamne. A fortress near Jericho was named Cypros by Herod in honor of his mother (Josephus, Wars, 1:417; Ant., 16:143). The site is situated on the southern side of Wadi Qelt, opposite Nuseib 'Uweishira, 15 miles (22 km.) distant from Jerusalem. It was excavated by E. Netzer and E. Damati in 1974 revealing a sumptious palace with bathhouses (one with a large bathtub in situ) and reception rooms with painted walls.


Jos., Wars, 1:181, 407, 438; 2:484; idem, Ant., 14:121; 15:81, 184, 213, 220, 239; A. Schalit, Hordos ha-Melekh (1960), 76–77, 79. add. bibliography: E. Netzer, The Palaces of the Hasmoneans and Herod the Great (1999).

[Lea Roth /

Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)]

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