When Herod the Great died in 4 BCE, Augustus passed on his throne to three of his sons. The challenge

Volcano Pichincha, crater edge
Volcano Pichincha, crater edge

which Herod’s successors had to meet was to turn the traditional reign of Herod into a new Augustean-style monarchy and to reduce the influence of the mighty aristocracy as Augustus had done in Rome.

The princes were expected to favour the prosperity of new social classes as allies against the aristocracy. The oldest of the sons, Archelaos, failed and in 6 CE he was banished to Gaul. Judaea was turned into a Roman province at the wishes of the Jewish aristocracy.

Philip in the North met the challenge: he introduced and kept peace in his reign and managed to die in office, highly estimated, in 34 CE.

Herod Antipas stood between these two alternatives. He was a full brother of Archelaus and got the small and agriculturally rich Galilee and Perea east of Jordan.