The younger son of herod the great and Malthace of Samaria. His education was at the imperial court in Rome. Herod's final will named him tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, and, despite a petition by Antipas to be made king of Judea instead of his older brother Archelaus, Augustus confirmed the will in 4 b.c. The subjects of Antipas's tetrarchy, in large part descended from pagans converted only a few generations before, were zealous and even fanatical Jews. Antipas (who officially used the dynastic name Herod), like his father, checked the nationalistic fervor of his subjects and demanded absolute loyalty to the Roman suzerain; the nobility who supported him in this policy were called herodians (Mt 22.16; Mk 12.13). Antipas's concern to repress any possible disturbance is seen in his imprisonment of john the baptist and his opposition to Jesus' ministry (Lk 13.31; Mk 3.6). He is the Herod mentioned in the Passion narrative (Lk 23.8–12; see passion of christ, i).
Antipas also emulated his father by undertaking building projects; he rebuilt Betharamphtha (modern Tell er-Râmeh) and Sepphoris (modern Suffûriyeh) in Galilee and founded the city of tiberias, whose name testifies to his lifelong close ties with the emperor. A dynastic marriage with the daughter of the Nabataean King Aretas IV gave way to Antipas's infatuation with his half brother Herod's wife, his niece Herodias. The divorce made Aretas his enemy, and in a.d. 36 Aretas attacked Antipas's forces in a boundary dispute; at the time Antipas was absent in Mesopotamia as mediator between the Parthian King Artabanus and the Roman legate Vitellius.
Herodias caused Antipas's final downfall. When Gaius Caligula named Herodias's brother Agrippa king over the former tetrarchy of Philip, the ambitious Herodias urged Antipas to complain to Gaius and seek the title of king himself. Agrippa's response to his uncle's attempt was to follow him to Rome (a.d. 39) and accuse him of treasonous plotting with Artabanus. Antipas was immediately exiled to Gaul, where he and Herodias lived out their days.
Bibliography: j. blinzler, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiberg 1957–65) 5:266; Herod Antipas and Jesus Christus (Stuttgart 1947). Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963) 101–102. a. h. m. jones, The Herods of Judaea (Oxford 1938) 176–183. w. g. a. otto, Paulys Realenzyklopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, ed. g. wissowa et al. Suppl. 2 (1913) 1–200, sep. pub. Herodes (Stuttgart 1913) 175–198. f. m. abel, Histoire de la Palestine depuis la conquête d'Alexandre jusqu'à l'invasion Arabe, 2 v. (Études bibliques 1952) 1:438–446.
[j. p. m. walsh]