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DRUSILLA:

Daughter of Agrippa I. and Cypros (Josephus, "Ant." xviii. 5, § 4; idem, "B. J." ii. 11, § 6); born in 38. She was only six years old at her father's death (44), and was subjected to the insult of having the portraits of herself and two sisters, Berenice and Mariamne, carried into the houses of ill-fame of Cæsarea by the Roman soldiers, who rejoiced over Agrippa's death ("Ant." xix. 9, § 1). The sisters did not enjoy a good reputation, the beautiful Drusilla being even worse than her elder sisters. Her father had betrothed her to Epiphanes, son of Antiochus of Commagene; but as Epiphanes refused after Agrippa's death to keep his promise to embrace Judaism, Drusilla was married by her brother Agrippa II. to Azizos, King of Emesa, who accepted the Abrahamic covenant ("Ant." xx. 7, § 1).

Drusilla dissolved her marriage with Azizos about the year 53, the newly appointed procurator of Judea, Felix, having fallen in love with her. With the help of a Cypriote magician, whose name is variously given as "Atomos" and, "Simon," he induced her to follow him, though a pagan, and to become his wife, contrary to the laws of her people (Acts xxiv. 24). Envy of her sister Berenice, who vied with her in beauty, aided in driving Drusilla to this step. Reference to Drusilla (ib.) is made in a manner to suggest that she was present when Paul preached before Felix.

By Felix, Drusilla had a son, Agrippa, who, together with his wife, perished during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 ("Ant." xx. 7, § 2).

Bibliography:
  • Basnage, Histoire des Juifs, i. 187;
  • Grätz, Gesch. 4th ed., iii. 354, 428, 438;
  • Gerlach, in Zeitschrift für Lutherische Theologie, 1869, pp. 68 et seq.;
  • Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., i. 573. It is said in the Prosopographia Imperii Romani, ii. 95, that Tacitus, in his History (v. 9), confounds two wives of Felix of the name of Drusilla.
G. S. Kr.
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