Judaea is the name the Greeks and Romans applied to Judah, the southern part of the Levant or Palestine -- a term used on this site to refer to the changing Greco-Roman geographical area -- to which the Jews returned after the Babylonian Captivity. The exact area covered by Judaea was not static. Even the name Judah means different areas at different times and comes from one of the 12 tribes.
King David ruled over the House of Judah. When Solomon died, the United Monarchy ended, and Israel split off from Judah, making Judah the Southern Kingdom. Judah was dominated by Assyrians, Egyptians, and Babylonians. The Maccabees helped resurrect a kingdom of Judah, with Jerusalem as its capital, that lasted from about 164 B.C. to about 64 B.C. when Pompey was campaigning in the area. Judaea had to submit to the Roman governor of Syria.
The first emperor of Rome, Augustus, gave Judaea to Herod to rule as client-king of Israel. When he died in 4 B.C., the province was divided among his three sons, but Augustus deposed the eldest, Archelaus, ethnarch of Judaea, Samaria, and Idumea, on the request of the Jews, in A.D. 6. The area Archelaus had ruled, Judaea, Idumea, and Samaria, became the imperial province of Judaea, governed first by a prefect, and later by a procurator. The governor lived in Caesarea.
Herod the Great's other surviving sons, Herod Antipas, tetrarch* of Galilee, which included the towns of Nazareth and Capernaum, and Perea, and Philip, tetrarch of Aurantis, Trachonitis, and probably Iturea. Herod Antipas ruled until A.D. 39. [Sources: A History of Rome, by M. Cary and H.H. Scullard, 1975; The Oxford History of the Biblical World, edited by Michael D. Coogan, 1998.]
Judaea later became Palestina.
- Divided Kingdom Israel and Judah
- People From the Bible
- Roman Provinces
- Pontius Pilate - 5th Roman Governor of Judaea
- History in the Gospels
- Jews in Jesus' Time
- Judah (Judaea) (this page)
- Fertile Crescent Map