Herod the Great

Herod known as Herod the Great and Herod I, was a Roman client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian kingdom. The history of his legacy has polarized opinion, as he is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his renovation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the expansion of the Temple Mount towards its north, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada, Herodium. Vital details of his life are recorded in the works of the 1st century CE Roman–Jewish historian Josephus. Herod appears in the Christian Gospel of Matthew as the ruler of Judea who orders the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of the birth of Jesus, although a majority of Herod biographers do not believe this event to have occurred. Despite his successes, including singlehandedly forging a new aristocracy from nothing, he has still garnered criticism from various historians, his reign polarizes opinion amongst scholars and historians, some viewing his legacy as evidence of success, some as a reminder of his tyrannical rule.

Upon Herod's death, the Romans divided his kingdom among three of his sons and his sister—Archelaus became ethnarch of Judea and Idumea, Herod Antipas became tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, Philip became tetrarch of territories north and east of the Jordan, Salome I was given a toparchy including the cities of Jabneh and Phasaelis. It is accepted that Herod was born around 73 BCE in Idumea, south of Judea. However, some authors think that he was born in about 72/71 BCE, he was the second son of Antipater the Idumaean, a high-ranking official under ethnarch Hyrcanus II, Cypros, a Nabatean. Herod's father was by descent an Edomite. Herod was raised as a Jew. Herod's rise to power is due to his father's good standing relation with Julius Caesar, who entrusted Antipater with the public affairs of Judea. Herod, Antipater's son, was appointed provincial governor of Galilee in ca. 47 BCE when Herod was about either 25 or 28 years old, where he faithfully farmed the taxes of that region for the Roman Senate, where he met with success in ridding that region of bandits.

Antipater's elder brother, served in the same capacity as governor of Jerusalem. During this time, the young Herod cultivated a good relationship with Sextus Caesar, the acting Roman governor of Syria, who appointed Herod as general of Coelesyria and Samaria expanding his realm of influence, he enjoyed the backing of Rome. When yet a private man, Herod had determined to punish Hyrcanus the king, who had once summoned Herod to stand trial for murder, but was restrained from doing so by the intervention of his father and his elder brother. In 41 BCE, Herod and his brother Phasael were named as tetrarchs by the Roman leader Mark Antony, they were placed in this role to support Hyrcanus II. Antigonus, Hyrcanus' nephew, took the throne from his uncle with the help of the Parthians. Herod fled to Rome to plead with the Romans to restore Hyrcanus II to power; the Romans had a special interest in Judea because their general Pompey the Great had conquered Jerusalem in 63 BCE, thus placing the region in the Roman sphere of influence.

In Rome, Herod was unexpectedly appointed King of the Jews by the Roman Senate. Josephus puts this in the year of the consulship of Calvinus and Pollio, but Appian places it in 39 BCE. Herod went back to Judea to win his kingdom from Antigonus. Toward the end of the campaign against Antigonus, Herod married the granddaughter of Hyrcanus II, a niece of Antigonus. Herod did this in an attempt to gain some Jewish favor. However, Herod had a wife, a young son and chose therefore to banish Doris and her child. Herod and Sosius, the governor of Syria, at the behest of Mark Antony, set out with a large army in 37 BCE and captured Jerusalem, Herod sending Antigonus for execution to Mark Antony. From this moment, Herod took the role as sole ruler of Judea and the title of basileus for himself, ushering in the Herodian Dynasty and ending the Hasmonean Dynasty. Josephus reports this as being in the year of the consulship of Agrippa and Gallus, but says that it was 27 years after Jerusalem fell to Pompey, which would indicate 36 BCE.

Cassius Dio reports that in 37 BCE "the Romans accomplished nothing worthy of note" in the area. According to Josephus, Herod ruled for 34 of them after capturing Jerusalem; as some believe Herod's family were converts to Judaism, his religious commitment was questioned by some elements of Jewish society. When John Hyrcanus conquered the region of Idumaea in 140–130 BCE, he required all Idumaeans to obey Jewish law or to leave. While Herod publicly identified himself as a Jew and was considered as such by some, this religious identification was undermined by the decadent lifestyle of the Herodians, which would have earned them the antipathy of observant Jews. Herod executed several members of his own family, including his wife Mariamne I. Herod's rule marked a new beginning in the history of Judea. Judea had been ruled autonomously by the Hasmonean kings from 140 BCE until 63 BCE; the Hasmonean kings retained their titles, but became clients of Rome after the conquest by Pompey in 63

Apostolic Nunciature to Samoa

The Apostolic Nunciature to Samoa is an ecclesiastical office of the Catholic Church in Samoa. It is a diplomatic post of the Holy See, whose representative is called the Apostolic Nuncio with the rank of an ambassador; the nuncio resides in New Zealand. The Holy See and Samoa established diplomatic relations on 10 June 1994. Before the Holy See was represented in Samoa by a series of delegations whose responsibilities for areas of the Pacific narrowed as the Holy See established diplomatic relations with countries in the region; the Nuncio’s position has been vacant since 17 June 2018. Apostolic NunciosThomas Anthony White (1994 – Apostolic Delegate to the Pacific Ocean from 14 October 1989 Patrick Coveney Charles Daniel Balvo Martin Krebs

1st Ranger Battalion

The 1st Ranger Battalion based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, United States, is the first of three ranger battalions belonging to the United States Army's 75th Ranger Regiment. It was formed shortly after the United States' entry into World War II and was modeled after the British Commandos during the war. Members from the unit were the first American soldiers to see combat in the European theater when they participated in the failed raid on Dieppe in France in 1942, during which three Rangers were killed and several more were captured; the 1st Ranger Battalion was sent to North Africa where they participated in the landings in Algeria and the fighting in Tunisia in 1943. In 1943 the unit provided cadre for two more Ranger battalions created between the campaigns in Sicily and Italy. After World War II, the 1st Ranger Battalion has gone through a number of changes of name and composition as it has been activated and reorganized on a number of occasions. However, the unit has lived on in one form or another since serving in the Korean and Vietnam Wars before being consolidated into the 75th Ranger Regiment of which it is a part today.

Recent deployments have included operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the wider global war on terrorism. Major General Lucian Truscott, U. S. Army, in liaison with the British General Staff, submitted proposals to General George Marshall that "we undertake an American unit along the lines of the British Commandos" in 1942. A subsequent cable from the U. S. Department of War authorized the activation of the 1st U. S. Army Ranger Battalion. After much deliberation, Company A, 1st Ranger Battalion was constituted on 27 May 1942. Captain William Orlando Darby, 31-year-old graduate of West Point with amphibious training, was chosen as its commanding officer. Within weeks he was promoted to major for his efforts in organizing the unit. Of the 1,500 men to volunteer for the original Ranger Battalion, only 600 were chosen. Eighty percent of these original Rangers came from the Red Bulls U. S. 34th Infantry Division. On 19 June 1942, Company A, 1st Ranger Battalion, was activated in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.

A select team of four officers toured the existing commando training camps and selected the center at Achnacarry, Scotland for the Rangers. Here they underwent intense training. Coached by the battle-seasoned commando instructors, the Rangers learned the basics of commando warfare. Five hundred of the 600 volunteers that Darby brought with him to Achnacarry completed the commando training. Many could not endure the exercises; the first Americans to see active combat in the European theater of World War II were forty-four enlisted men and five officers from the 1st Ranger Battalion. Dispersed among the Canadians and the British commandos, these men were the first American ground soldiers to see action against the Germans in the disastrous Dieppe Raid known as Operation Jubilee. Three Rangers were several captured; the first American soldier killed in Europe in World War II was part of the Dieppe Raid, Ranger Lieutenant E. V. Loustalot. During the mission, the British Captain leading the assault was killed.

Loustalot with his men attacked a clifftop machine gun nest. Scaling the steep cliff, Loustalot was wounded three times and was killed by enemy crossfire; the first efforts to stop the German infiltration of Europe were by the 1st Ranger Battalion. Attempting to prevent German occupation of seaports in North Africa, the 1st Ranger Battalion spearheaded an invasion at the Port of Arzew in Algeria; this was accomplished by executing a surprise night landing, silencing two gun batteries, opening the way for the capture of Oran. In Tunisia in 1943, the 1st Battalion executed the first Ranger behind-the-lines night raid for the purpose of gaining information and terrorizing the enemy. On 11 February the Rangers took a 32-mile journey, 12 on foot, for their first raid on an Italian camp at Sened Station. Using the cloak of night, the Rangers slipped in 50 yards of the Italian outpost and began their attack, it took the battalion only 20 minutes to achieve area control. Fifty enemy were killed and an additional 10 were taken prisoner.

Darby, along with fellow commanders, was awarded the Silver Star for this victory and the battalion itself gained the nickname the "Black Death" by the Italians. In March, American units were decimated time and again while trying to break through the critical mountain pass at Djbel Ank. Given this mission, the 1st Rangers undertook a twelve-mile night march through rugged terrain to reach the heights of Djbel Ank where, at dawn, the Rangers surprised the enemy from the rear, capturing two hundred prisoners and giving General Patton an opening though which he began the final and victorious battle in North Africa. Rangers played a crucial role in the battle of El Guettar which followed, for which the First Ranger Battalion won its first Presidential Unit Citation; the early success of the 1st Ranger Battalion brought about the creation of the 3rd and 4th Battalions. The original 1st Battalion was divided into thirds. One third of the Headquarters and each company was placed in each of the Battalions 1-3-4.

3rd Ranger Battalion was Activated on 21 May 1943 at Nemours, while 4th Ranger Battalion was activated on 29 May 1943 in Tunisia. To provide command and control for these three Ranger Battalions, the 6615th Ranger Force was established; this force was rounded out with the addition of the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion, the 2/509th Parachute Infa