Salome: The Seventh Queen:2: Herod’s Temple
by Aline deWinter
Herod built the temple on the highest hill of Judea with an altar of gold and chalcedony in which to house the casket that contained the Prophet’s head. This casket was made of solid gold in the shape of the Holy City. Its dome was bedizened with gems, it’s pillars were carved of ivory, and its spires cast of silver. The windows were set with lapis lazuli, its doors were of onyx hinged and bolted with ivory, and its streets spattered with rubies.
But the skull within, whose turquoise eyes peered through the lattices of black coral, that was perfumed with cedar, myrrh, sandalwood and attar of roses, and then wrapped in pearl encrusted cloth of silver, was not the head of the Prophet, Jokanaann, for Salome was not willing to part with it. Rather a slave who displeased her was chosen to have his head severed from his body and embalmed and carried with great honors and processions into the Temple.
When this holy reliquary was placed upon the altar, the Tetrarch, Herod, made a great speech announcing that devotions offered to the Prophet were bound to insure the eternal protection and fertility of the realm. That being so honored, the Prophet would release the kingdom from his curse.