The Rise of the Roman Empire. While the Ptolemies and Seleucids were vying for power in the eastern Mediterranean region, the next regional empire prophesied in Daniel 2:40-43 as the “iron/clay kingdom” was rising to power. From their capital in Italy, the Romans under the leadership of Julius Caesar would defeat the Greeks and unite the entire Mediterranean region under their rule, bringing increased commerce, travel, and exchange of ideas.
The Hasmonean dynasty and the Jews in Judea originally came under Roman influence around 65 B.C.. However, they eventually lost their independence, becoming a Roman province with Julius Caesar appointing Antipater the Idumaean to be procurator or governor. His son, Herod (a.k.a. Herod the Great) went on to first be the governor of Galilee and later the “King of the Jews” (the “Herod” of Matt. 2).