the fortresses built by Alexander Jannaeus (Joseph. BJ
) E of the Dead Sea, in the region previously conquered by John Hyrcanus. It was destroyed in 64 B.C. by
Pompey. Pliny (HN 5.72
), who states that Machaerus
was one of the important fortresses of Judea, is possibly
referring to the newer fortress built by Herod the Great
and described by Josephus (BJ 7.173-77
); he mentions
the strong walls, the beautiful palace, the cisterns for
the collection of water, and the stores of arms and food.
John the Baptist was decapitated in the palace (Matt.
14; Mark 6; Joseph. AJ 18.116-19
). After Herod's death
Machaerus became part of the Peraea, and the fortress
was finally destroyed by the Romans after a long siege
7. 190ff). It was on a mountain called el-Musheneq,
where remains of Herod's fortress, the walls, the Roman
siege works, and an aqueduct have been identified.
F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine
II (1938) 371-72; M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land
73, 101, 180.