ALEXANDRA (d. 28 B.C.E.), daughter of hyrcanus ii ; wife of alexander , the son of Aristobulus II; and mother of Aristobulus III and of mariamne , Herod's wife. Alexandra regarded Herod's appointment of the Babylonian (or Egyptian) Ananel (Hananel) to the high priesthood as a violation of the alexandra Hasmonean family's right of succession to the office and attempted to secure it for her son Aristobulus. Though Herod acceded to her request, he was unable to forgive her, and did not allow her to leave the palace. When Alexandra tried to escape with her son, Herod foiled the attempt. He then affected a reconciliation. When, however, her son was drowned in a swimming pool, Alexandra accused Herod before Cleo patra of engineering his death and asked her to have Mark Antony charge Herod with the murder. Herod was summoned to Laodicea, but cleared himself by bribery. After the battle of Actium (31 B.C.E.), it seemed certain that Herod could not escape punishment, since he had sided with Antony against Octavian (Augustus). When Herod returned from a meeting with Octavian with added honors, Herod's sister Salome, Queen Mariamne's implacable enemy, slandered her and Alexandra to her brother, and Mariamne was condemned to death for treason. According to Josephus' biased account, Alexandra escaped the same fate by dishonorably accusing her condemned daughter of disloyalty to her husband. Her own fate was not long delayed. After Mariamne's death Herod fell ill and appeared likely to die. Alexandra, thinking that her opportunity had now come, attempted to obtain control of the two fortresses in Jerusalem. When this was reported to Herod, he ordered her immediate execution. With Alexandra's death, the last member of the Hasmonean dynasty to play an active role in history disappeared. Alexandra cannot be considered exceptionally sagacious or gifted with insight into Herod's character. In all, she seemed to resemble her grandfather Alexander Yannai; she was courageous, but lacked flexibility and guile, and hence was no match for Herod. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jos., Ant., 15:23, 80, 232 ff., 247 ff.; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 4 (19502), 12 ff.; Graetz, Gesch, 3 (19055), 186, 199 ff., 216 ff.; Schuerer, Gesch, 1 (1901), 378 ff., 386; H. Willrich, Das Haus des Herodes (1929), 48 ff.; A.H.M. Jones, The Herods of Judaea (1938), 52 ff., 58, 61; A. Schalit, Hordos ha-Melekh (19643), index; Pauly-Wissowa, suppl. 3 (1918), 79. (Abraham Schalit)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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