15. Herod began a Civic Building programme to win over the Jewish People.
In between disposing of inconvenient in-laws and shifting allegiances, Herod undertook a massive building program. In 31 BC, an earthquake devastated Judea, destroying buildings and killing thousands. Herod’s response was not merely to replace the lost buildings, but to rebuild bigger and better in the hope of winning over his people. In Jerusalem, he constructed a new market, a theater and amphitheater and a new meeting hall for the Sanhedrin- as well as a new palace for himself. In 20 BC, he rebuilt the temple of Jerusalem in opulent fashion, sticking strictly to Jewish law. However, the port of Caesarea, built on the new territories ceded to him by Augustus was his crowning achievement, a masterpiece of engineering and architecture.