Drusilla (daughter of Agrippa I)

Drusilla (daughter of Agrippa I)

:"For others of this name see Drusilla."

Drusilla (born 38) was a daughter of Herod Agrippa I and thus sister to Berenice, Mariamne and Herod Agrippa II [http://www.drusilla.net] .


First marriage

She was six years of age at the time of her father's death at Caesarea in 44. Her father had betrothed her to Gaius Julius Archelaus Antiochus Epiphanes, first son of King Antiochus IV of Commagene, [Josephus, "Jewish Antiquities", xix. 9. § 1.] with a stipulation from her father that Epiphanes should embrace the Jewish religion. [Josephus, "Jewish Antiquities", xx.7.1] The prince in the end refused to abide by his promise to do so, and the marriage had still not been contracted on her father's death. (Her 10 year old sister Mariamne was in a similar situation, with an unfulfilled betrothal to Gaius Julius Archelaus Antiochus Epiphanes). On Agrippa's death:

Once Drusilla's brother Herod Agrippa II had been assigned the tetrachy of Herod Philip I (along with Batanea, Trachonites and Abila) in around 49/50, he broke off her engagement to Epiphanes and gave her in marriage to Azizus, King of Emesa, who, in order to obtain her hand, consented to be circumcised. [Josephus, "Jewish Antiquities", xx.7.1] She left him for Felix, becoming his third wife while still in her teens. She was with him when Paul defended his faith. (Acts 24 and 25) He also married Mariamne to her betrothed.


It appears that it was shortly after her first marriage was contracted that Antonius Felix, the Roman , met Drusilla, probably at her brother's court (Berenice, the elder sister, lived with her brother at this time, and thus Drusilla probably did too). Felix was struck by the great beauty of Drusilla, and determined to make her his (second) wife. In order to persuade her, a practising Jew, to divorce her Jewish husband and marry him, a pagan, he took the following steps:

She was about twenty-two years of age when she appeared at Felix's side, during St. Paul's captivity at Caesarea - Acts 24:24 reports her thus::"Several days later Felix came [back into court] with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess." Acts gives no further information on her subsequent life, though Josephus states that they had a son named Marcus Antonius Agrippa and a daughter Antonia Clementiana. Their son perished together with his mother, Drusilla, in Mount Vesuvius in 79. [Mentioned in Josephus, "Jewish Antiquities", xx.7.2, and in a lost section of the work.] For further information about the family of Felix and Drusilla, see Antonius Felix.



* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05165b.htm Catholic Encyclopaedia]

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