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Ancient Mesopotamia
Assyria Nineveh
Arslan Tash Til Barsip
Iran Palace of Darius
Phoenicia Arabia Palmyra
Syrian coast
Ougarit Byblos


Head of John the Baptist on a Disc

R.F 4203
beginning of the 17th Century
Denon Ground floor room 4
This exhibit has featured
in the collections of François Girardon (1628-1715) and
Jean-Antoine Crozat under
the name of Michelangelo.

Head of John the Baptist

The son of Herod the Great, ruler of the district of Galilee (Luke 3:1), Herod won the favour of Tiberius Caesar. The adulterous union he entered into with Herodias earned him the criticism of John the Baptist. During his birthday celebration, Herod had him beheaded to keep the promise made to Salome.  -Matthew 14:6.
It was also he who mocked Jesus during his trial by dressing him in splendid clothing before sending him back to Pilate. - Luke 23:8-12.

Bible and birthday celebration

The Bible shows birthdays in an unfavourable light.    
As Origen  AR65  notes, only “sinners [such
as Pharaoh or Herod] celebrated their birthdays”,
marked in these two cases by manslaughter.
A number of customs associated with
these festivals are pagan in origin.
 The notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas
of the Christians
of this period.
The Greeks like the Romans believed that a protective spirit or daemon became attached to each human being, assisting them during birth and watching over them during their lifetime. This spirit had a mystic relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was born. AR66
We can therefore understand that the notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas of the Christians of this period. AR67

On Herod, see also:
       Stained Glass Window Showing Herod and Salome   OA 1207
       Round Watch: Herod, Herodias and Salome   OA 8329
       Beheading of John the Baptist   RF 196


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