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#(33) IMAGES MEDIEVALES:
Salome, daughter of Herodias, danced before her mother's husband Herod Antipas on his birthday, and so pleased him that he offered her anything she wanted, even unto half his kingdom. You don't get a king publicly swearing that he'll give you whatever you want just every day, so little Salome ran hotfoot back to her mother and inquired, all atwitter, what she should ask for.
What her mother wanted was John the Baptist dead. John, Baptiser of Christ, a serious-business prophet and holy man, had done the usual stirring up of hornet's nests and told Herodias that her marriage was illegal and nasty. Herod-though already married to an Arabian princess-while on a trip to Rome had fallen hard for Herodias, who was his brother Philip's wife, and resolved to marry her.
The Arabian princess found out about this, and ran back to daddy, who mustered an army and dealt Herod Antipas quite a pasting. But, despite the cost, now he had Herodias. Herodias was not delighted to have John, the hairy troublemaker, out bugling to every Tom, Dick and Uncle Costobar about her private affairs, and she wanted him silenced.
Herod was afraid of him and, though for his wife's sake had arrested and imprisoned John the Baptist, refused to have the prophet executed. So, Herodias dangled her daughter (by her first husband) as bait in front of her new husband, and tricked him. In answer to her daughter's question, Herodias said, "Darling, ask him for the head of John the Baptist on a silver plate. You can keep the plate."
Salome dutifully trotted back and did just that. Well, like it or not, Herod had to keep his promise, so he ordered his executioner to behead the holy man, and bring his head on a charger, and give it to Salome. With a little curtsy, Salome accepted the gory present and carried it to her mother.
Salome married a couple of times herself: first, to her step-father's brother Philip the Tetrarch (a different Philip from her own father-it doesn't help that all these folks have the same name), and later to Aristobulus, son of Herod of Chalcis.
She had a daughter Veronica, who lived in Jerusalem, on the road to Calvary. Veronica was afflicted for twelve years with an issue of blood, but was cured by her faith when she touched the hem of Jesus' garment.
When Herod Antipas heard of Jesus of Nazareth, he first thought that Jesus was John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded, risen from the dead. When Jesus was brought before him after his arrest, Herod was delighted to see the miracle worker, but was disappointed when his prisoner refused to perform any parlor tricks, and sent him back to Pontias Pilate, thus patching up an old quarrel.
Much against his better judgment-and against the express wishes of his wife-Pilate condemned Jesus to be crucified. On the Via Dolorosa, Jesus staggered under the burden of the cross upon which he was to be hanged. Veronica, daughter of Salome the Dancer, took pity on him and stepped out of the crowd and wiped his face, and its bloodied, agonized image was transferred to the cloth.