On one occasion, Herod ordered the assassination of his wife Mariamne I if he was executed in Rome. She found out about his plans and Herod executed the person who told her. On a second trip to Rome, Herod gave the same orders. His wife found out again. Herod executed both her and the informant. He later murdered two sons he had fathered by Mariamne I after receiving permission from Rome to try them for treason. Herod would have delusions in which he saw the ghost of his first wife and would mourn in the hallways of the palace.
Herod's second wife, Alexandra, declared that he was too mentally unstable to rule and declared herself ruler of Judea. Herod responded by having her executed. Herod's third wife, Mariamne II was banished from the kingdom. Herod tried a third son for treason, drowned a high priest, made at least one suicide attempt, and had four separate wills depending on who was least likely to betray him. While he was one his death bed, Herod had a third son executed. The emperor Augustus said it was "Better to be Herod's dog than one of his children".