29 August: Beheading of St. John the Baptist


words and music and stories

Caravaggio_-_Decollazione_di_San_Giovanni_Battista Caravaggio (1608)

According to the Synoptic Gospels, John the Baptist was beheaded on this day in the fortress of Machaerus under the hand of Herod Antipater.
John was in prison because he had disapproved of Herod’s decision to divorce his wife and wed Herodias, his brother’s wife .
One day, while John was there, Herod and his court were celebrating the king’s birthday.
As part of  the celebration, Herodias’s daughter, traditionally called Salome, was asked to dance before him and his guests. In his drunkenness, the king promised he would reward her by giving her anything she wanted.
Salome danced, and then asked her mother what she should request in return. She was told to ask for the head of John the Baptist, so the girl said: “Give me the head of John the Baptist on a platter”
Herod was horrified by the request and promised his step-daughter anything else—palaces…

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