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Feast of Herod

john baptist head salome

The fateful birthday banquet hosted by *Herod Antipas which resulted in the decapitation of Saint *John the Baptist is described in the Page 87  Gospels of *Matthew and *Mark . Herod Antipas, one of the sons of Herod the Great, was the ruler of Galilee and Peraea. He divorced his first wife in order to marry Herodias, the wife of his brother (or half-brother). John the Baptist rebuked him for this and angered Herodias. Herodias’s daughter, Salome, pleased Herod with her dancing at the feast, and Herod offered to grant her any wish. Consulting with her mother, Salome requested the head of John the Baptist (who had previously been imprisioned by Herod). John was decapitated, and his head was brought forth on a platter. Depicted in art, the subject will include figures seated at a banqueting table, Salome dancing or performing acrobatics, the decapitation of John, and the presentation of John’s head on a tray or in a bowl. Extracted from this narrative context, the decapitated head of John the Baptist also appears in art as an independent, devotional image
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