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Machaerus (See also wiki article Machaerus.)

MACHAERUS - A place E. of the Dead Sea, fortified by Alexander Jannaeus, and greatly enlarged and strengthened by Herod the Great (Jos. BJ vii. vi. 1 [163-170]). According to Josephus, the wife of Herod Antipas retired to this place when she got wind of her husband's intention to rid himself of her and wed Herodias. From there she escaped to her father Aretas, king of the Nabataeans. Josephus describes Machaerus as 'in the borders of the dominions of Aretas and Herod,' and then 'subject to her father' (Ant. xviii. v. 1 [111 f]). He goes on to say that here John was imprisoned and beheaded (Mk.6.14-29 etc.). If it was then subject to Aretas, this is at least curious. The fortress was one of the last taken by the Romans in the war of independence (BJ ii. xviii. 6 [485 f], vii. vi. 1-5 (163-209]). It is identified with the ruin of Mekawer, on the height about halfway between Wadi Zerka Ma'in and Wadi el-Mojib. No thorough archaeological exploration has as yet been carried out here. [Article: Dictionary of the Bible, J.Hastings, 2nd Ed., T&T.Clark, 1963 - W.E - E.G.K.]