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The Hasmonean dynasty ( audio
; he, חַשְׁמוֹנַאִים ''Ḥašmōnaʾīm'') was a ruling
dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of the University of Oxford. It is the larges ...
of
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...

Judea
and surrounding regions during
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
, from BCE to 37 BCE. Between and BCE the dynasty ruled Judea semi-autonomously from the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
, and from roughly 110 BCE, with the empire disintegrating, Judea gained further autonomy and expanded into the neighboring regions of
Samaria Samaria, , also known as , 'Nablus Mountains' () is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the Land of Israel, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set t ...

Samaria
,
Galilee Galilee (; he, הַגָּלִיל, ha-galil; ar, الجليل, al-jalīl) is a region located in northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part, divided into Upper Galilee (, ; , ) and Lower Galil ...

Galilee
,
Iturea Iturea ( grc, Ἰτουραία, ''Itouraía'') is the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southe ...

Iturea
,
Perea Image:First century Iudaea province.gif, 280px, Perea and its surroundings in the 1st century CE Perea or Peraea (Greek language, Greek: Περαία, "peraia, the country beyond"), was the portion of the kingdom of Herod the Great occupying the ...
, and
Idumea Edom (; Edomite language, Edomite: ; he, Wiktionary:אדום, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian language, Akkadian: , ; Egyptian language, Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan (region), Transjordan located between Mo ...

Idumea
. The Hasmonean rulers took the Greek title "''
basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic quali ...
''" ("king" or "emperor"), and some modern scholars refer to this period as an independent kingdom of
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
. The kingdom was ultimately conquered by the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
and the dynasty was displaced by
Herod the Great Herod I (; ; grc-gre, ; c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romu ...
in 37 BCE. The dynasty was established under the leadership of
Simon Thassi Simon Thassi ( he, ''Šīməʿōn haTassī''; died 135 BCE Common Era (CE) is one of the year notations used for the Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 158 ...
, two decades after his brother
Judas Maccabeus Judah Maccabee (or Judas Maccabeus, also spelled Machabeus, or Maccabæus, Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Judas Maccabeus
( ''Yehudah HaMakabi'') defeated the
Seleucid army The Seleucid army was the army of the Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean hi ...
during the
Maccabean Revolt The Maccabean Revolt ( he, מרד החשמונאים) was a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees The Maccabees (), also spelled Machabees ( he, מַכַּבִּים ''Makabīm'' or he, מַקַבִּים, ''Maqabīm''; or ''Maccabaei''; el, ...

Maccabean Revolt
. According to
1 Maccabees The First Book of Maccabees, also called 1 Maccabees, is a book written in Hebrew by an anonymousRappaport, U., ''47. 1 Maccabees'' in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001)The Oxford Bible Commentary, p. 711 Jewish author after the restoration of an ...
,
2 Maccabees The Second Book of Maccabees, also called 2 Maccabees, is a deuterocanonical The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), of ...
, and the first book of ''
The Jewish War ''The Jewish War'' or ''Judean War'' (in full ''Flavius Josephus's Books of the History of the Jewish War against the Romans'', el, Φλαυίου Ἰωσήπου ἱστορία Ἰουδαϊκοῦ πολέμου πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ...
'' by Jewish historian
Flavius Josephus Titus Flavius Josephus (; ; 37 – 100), born Yosef ben Matityahu ( he, יוסף בן מתתיהו ''Yōsef ben Matiṯyāhu''; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος Ματθίου παῖς ''Iṓsēpos Matthíou paîs''), was a first-century Romano-Jewish ...
(37 CE–),
Antiochus IV Antiochus IV Epiphanes (; grc, Ἀντίοχος ὁ Ἐπιφανής, ''Antíochos ho Epiphanḗs'', "God Manifest"; c. 215 BC – November/December 164 BC) was a Hellenistic king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early m ...
moved to assert strict control over the Seleucid
satrapy Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
of
Coele Syria Coele-Syria (, also spelt Coele Syria, Coelesyria, Celesyria) alternatively Coelo-Syria or Coelosyria (; grc-gre, Κοίλη Συρία, ''Koílē Syría'', 'Hollow Syria'; lat, Cœlē Syria or ), was a region of Syria (region), Syria in c ...
and Phoenicia after his successful invasion of
Ptolemaic Egypt The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , o ...
was turned back by the intervention of the Roman Republic. He sacked
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
and its
Temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called church (building), churches), Hinduism (w ...

Temple
, suppressing Jewish and Samaritan religious and cultural observances, and imposed Hellenistic practices. The steady collapse of the Seleucid Empire under attacks from the rising powers of the Roman Republic and the
Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major political and cultural power in from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, , who led the tribe in conquering the region of in 's northeast, ...

Parthian Empire
allowed Judea to regain some autonomy; however, in 63 BCE, the kingdom was invaded by the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
, broken up and set up as a Roman
client state A client state, in international relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader sense, it concerns all activ ...
.
Hyrcanus II John Hyrcanus II (, ''Yohanan Hurqanos'') (died 30 BCE), a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, was for a long time the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an i ...

Hyrcanus II
and
Aristobulus II Hasmonean Kingdom under Aristobulus II Aristobulus II (, he, אריסטובולוס; grc, Ἀριστόβουλος ''Aristóboulos'') was the Jewish Kohen Gadol, High Priest and King of Judea, 66 BCE to 63 BCE, from the Hasmonean dynasty. Fami ...

Aristobulus II
, Simon's great-grandsons, became pawns in a
proxy war A proxy war is an armed conflict between two states or non-state actorNon-state actors include organizations and individuals that are not affiliated with, directed by, or funded through the government. The interests, structure, and influence o ...
between
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
and
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...
. The deaths of Pompey (48 BCE) and Caesar (44 BCE), and the related
Roman civil wars This is a list of civil wars and organized civil disorder in ancient Rome (753 BC – AD 476). 3rd century BC * 241 BC: Falisci revolt – revolt suppressed 2nd century BC * 135–132 BC: First Servile War in Sicily (Roman province), Sicily - r ...
, temporarily relaxed Rome's grip on the Hasmonean kingdom, allowing a brief reassertion of autonomy backed by the Parthian Empire, rapidly crushed by the Romans under
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
and
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
. The Hasmonean dynasty had survived for 103 years before yielding to the
Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty#REDIRECT Herodian dynasty 260px, Coin of Herod the Great The Herodian dynasty was a royal dynasty of Idumea, Idumaean (Edomite) descent, ruling the Herodian Kingdom and later the Herodian Tetr ...
in 37 BCE. The installation of
Herod the Great Herod I (; ; grc-gre, ; c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romu ...
(an
Idumean Edom (; Edomite language, Edomite: 𐤀𐤃𐤌 ''’Edām''; he, Wiktionary:אדום, אֱדוֹם ''ʼÉḏōm'', lit.: "red"; akk, 𒌑𒁺𒈠𒀀𒀀 ''Uduma'') was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan (region), Transjordan located between ...

Idumean
) as king in 37 BCE made Judea a Roman client state and marked the end of the Hasmonean dynasty. Even then, Herod tried to bolster the legitimacy of his reign by marrying a Hasmonean princess, , and planning to drown the last male Hasmonean heir at his
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a State of Palestine, Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is located in the Jordan Valley, with the Jordan River to the east and Jerusalem to the west. It is the administrative sea ...

Jericho
palace. In 6 CE, Rome joined Judea proper, Samaria and
Idumea Edom (; Edomite language, Edomite: ; he, Wiktionary:אדום, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian language, Akkadian: , ; Egyptian language, Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan (region), Transjordan located between Mo ...

Idumea
into the Roman province of Judaea. In 44 CE, Rome installed the rule of a
procurator Procurator (with procuracy or procuratorate referring to the office itself) may refer to: * Procurator, one engaged in procuration, the action of taking care of, hence management, stewardship, agency * ''Procurator'' (Ancient Rome), the title of ...
side by side with the rule of the Herodian kings (specifically
Agrippa I Herod Agrippa, also known as Herod II or Agrippa I (; 11 BC – AD 44), was a Herodian Dynasty, King of Judea from AD 41 to 44 and of Philip's tetrarchy from 39. He was the last ruler with the royal title reigning over Judea (Roman province), J ...

Agrippa I
41–44 and
Agrippa II Herod Agrippa II (; AD 27/28 – or 100), officially named Marcus Julius Agrippa and sometimes shortened to Agrippa, was the last ruler from the Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty#REDIRECT Herodian dynasty ...

Agrippa II
50–100).


Etymology

The family name of the Hasmonean dynasty originates with the ancestor of the house, whom
Josephus Flavius Titus Flavius Josephus (; ; 37 – 100), born Yosef ben Matityahu ( he, יוסף בן מתתיהו ''Yōsef ben Matiṯyāhu''; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος Ματθίου παῖς ''Iṓsēpos Matthíou paîs''), was a first-century Romano-Jewish ...
called by the Hellenised form Asmoneus or Asamoneus ( gr, Ἀσαμωναῖος), said to have been the great-grandfather of
Mattathias Mattathias ben Johanan ( he, מַתִּתְיָהוּ הַכֹּהֵן בֶּן יוֹחָנָן, ''Matīṯyāhū haKōhēn ben Yōḥānān''; died 166–165 BCE) was a Kohen (Jewish priest) who helped spark the Maccabean Revolt against th ...

Mattathias
, but about whom nothing more is known. The name appears to come from the Hebrew name ''Hashmonay'' (חַשְׁמוֹנַאי ''Ḥašmōnaʾy''). An alternative view posits that the Hebrew name ''Hashmona'i'' is linked with the village of
Heshbon Heshbon (also Hesebon, Esebon, Esbous, Esebus; ar, حشبون, links=no, la, Esebus, links=no, he, חשבון, links=no, grc, Ἐσεβών, Ἐσσεβών, Ἐσβούτα, Ἐσβούς, Ἔσβους, Ἔξβους, links=no) were at least ...

Heshbon
, mentioned in . Gott and Licht attribute the name to "Ha Simeon," a veiled reference to the .


Background

The lands of the former Kingdom of Israel and
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Le ...
(–586 BCE), had been occupied in turn by
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
,
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
, the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
, and
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
's Hellenic
Macedonian empire Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
( BCE), although Jewish religious practice and culture had persisted and even flourished during certain periods. The entire region was heavily contested between the successor states of Alexander's empire, the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
and
Ptolemaic Egypt The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , o ...
, during the six
Syrian Wars The Syrian Wars were a series of six wars between the Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Any ...
of the 3rd–1st centuries BCE: "After two centuries of peace under the Persians, the Hebrew state found itself once more caught in the middle of power struggles between two great empires: the Seleucid state with its capital in Syria to the north and the Ptolemaic state, with its to the south...Between 319 and 302 BC, Jerusalem changed hands seven times."Hooker, Richard. World Civilizations Learning Modules. Washington State University, 1999. Under
Antiochus III Antiochus III the Great (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is a ...
, the Seleucids wrested control of Judea from the Ptolemies for the final time, defeating
Ptolemy V Epiphanes egy, Iwaennetjerwymerwyitu Seteppah Userkare Sekhem-ankhamun#Clayton06, Clayton (2006) p. 208. , predecessor = Ptolemy IV Philopator, Ptolemy IV , successor = Ptolemy VI Philometor, Ptolemy VI , horus = '' ḥwnw-ḫꜤj-m-nsw-ḥr- ...
at the
Battle of Panium The Battle of Panium (also known as Paneion, grc, Πάνειον, or Paneas, Πανειάς) was fought in 200 BC near Paneas ( Caesarea Philippi) between Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ' ...
in 200 BCE. Seleucid rule over the Jewish parts of the region then resulted in the rise of Hellenistic cultural and religious practices: "In addition to the turmoil of war, there arose in the Jewish nation pro-Seleucid and pro-Ptolemaic parties; and the schism exercised great influence upon the Judaism of the time. It was in
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
that the Jews first made the acquaintance of Hellenism and of the more corrupt sides of Greek culture; and it was from Antioch that
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...

Judea
henceforth was ruled."


Historical sources

The major source of information about the origin of the Hasmonean dynasty is the books
1 Maccabees The First Book of Maccabees, also called 1 Maccabees, is a book written in Hebrew by an anonymousRappaport, U., ''47. 1 Maccabees'' in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001)The Oxford Bible Commentary, p. 711 Jewish author after the restoration of an ...
and
2 Maccabees The Second Book of Maccabees, also called 2 Maccabees, is a deuterocanonical The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), of ...
, held as
canonical Canonical may refer to: Science and technology * Canonical form In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geo ...
scripture by the
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
,
Orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-paga ...
, and most
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
churches and as
apocryphal Apocrypha (Gr. ἀπόκρυφος, ‘the hidden hings) The biblical Books received by the early Church as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, but not included in the Hebrew Bible, being excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews fr ...
by
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
denominations, although they do not comprise the canonical books of the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
. The books cover the period from 175 BCE to 134 BCE during which time the Hasmonean dynasty became semi-independent from the
Seleucid empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
but had not yet expanded far outside of Judea. They are written from the point of view that the salvation of the Jewish people in a crisis came from God through the family of Mattathias, particularly his sons Judas Maccabeus, Jonathan Apphus, and Simon Thassi, and his grandson
John Hyrcanus John Hyrcanus (; ''Yōḥānān Hurqanōs''; grc, Ἰωάννης Ὑρκανός, Iōánnēs Hurkanós) was a Hasmonean ( Maccabean) leader and Jewish High Priest of Israel, high priest of the 2nd century BCE (born 164 BCE, reigned from 134 BC ...

John Hyrcanus
. The books include historical and religious material from the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
that was codified by
Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...
and
Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
Christians. The other primary source for the Hasmonean dynasty is the first book of ''
The Wars of the Jews ''The Jewish War'' or ''Judean War'' (in full ''Flavius Josephus's Books of the History of the Jewish War against the Romans'', el, Φλαυίου Ἰωσήπου ἱστορία Ἰουδαϊκοῦ πολέμου πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ...
'' and a more detailed history in ''
Antiquities of the Jews ''Antiquities of the Jews'' ( la, Antiquitates Iudaicae; el, Ἰουδαϊκὴ ἀρχαιολογία, ''Ioudaikē archaiologia'') is a 20-volume historiographical work, written in Greek, by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in the 13th ye ...
'' by the Jewish historian
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
, (37– 100 CE). Josephus' account is the only primary source covering the history of the Hasmonean dynasty during the period of its expansion and independence between 110 to 63 BCE. Notably, Josephus, a
Roman citizen Citizenship Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its ...
and former general in the Galilee, who survived the
Jewish–Roman wars The Jewish–Roman wars were a series of large-scale revolt Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority In the fields of sociol ...
of the 1st century, was a Jew who was captured by and cooperated with the Romans, and wrote his books under Roman patronage.


Seleucid rule over Judea


Hellenisation

The continuing Hellenization of Judea pitted traditional Jews against those who eagerly Hellenized. The latter felt that the former's orthodoxy held them back. Jews were divided both between those favoring Hellenization and those opposing it and over allegiance to the Ptolemies or Seleucids. In 175 BCE, conflict broke out between High Priest
Onias IIIOnias III ( he, חוֹנִיּוֹ ''Ḥōniyyō''), son of Simon II, was High PriestThe term “high priest” usually refers either to an individual who holds the office of ruler-priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform ...
(who opposed Hellenisation and favoured the
Ptolemies The Ptolemaic dynasty (; grc, Πτολεμαῖοι, ''Ptolemaioi''), the Thirty-third dynasty of Egypt, sometimes referred to as the Lagid dynasty (Λαγίδαι, ''Lagidae;'' after Ptolemy I Ptolemy I Soter (; gr, Πτολεμαῖο ...
) and his son
Jason Jason ( ; ) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...
(who favoured Hellenisation and the Seleucids). A period of political intrigue followed, with both Jason and
Menelaus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
bribing the king to win the High Priesthood, and accusations of murder of competing contenders for the title. The result was a brief civil war. The
Tobiads The Tobiads were a Jewish faction in Ammon Ammon (Ammonite *Belemnoidea—an extinct group of . {{fossil cephalopods, state=collapsed Prehistoric cephalopods by classification Coleoidea ...: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּו ...
, a philo-Hellenistic party, succeeded in placing Jason into the powerful position of High Priest. He established an arena for public games close by the Temple. Author Lee I. Levine notes, "The 'piece de resistance' of Judaean Hellenisation, and the most dramatic of all these developments, occurred in 175 BCE, when the high priest Jason converted Jerusalem into a Greek
polis ''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (199 ...

polis
replete with
gymnasium Gymnasium may refer to: *Gymnasium (ancient Greece), educational and sporting institution *Gymnasium (school), type of secondary school that prepares students for higher education **Gymnasium (Denmark) **Gymnasium (Germany) **Gymnasium UNT, high ...
and ephebeion (2 Maccabees 4). Whether this step represents the culmination of a 150-year process of Hellenisation within Jerusalem in general, or whether it was only the initiative of a small coterie of Jerusalem priests with no wider ramifications, has been debated for decades." Hellenised Jews are known to have engaged in non-surgical
foreskin restoration #REDIRECT foreskin restoration#REDIRECT foreskin restoration applied to a circumcised penis for non-surgical foreskin restoration Foreskin restoration is the process of expanding the skin Skin is the layer of usually soft, flexible outer tissue c ...
(
epispasm applied to a circumcised penis for non-surgical foreskin restoration Foreskin restoration is the process of expanding the skin on the Human penis, penis to reconstruct an organ similar to the foreskin, which has been removed by circumcision or injur ...
) in order to join the dominant Hellenistic cultural practice of socialising naked in the gymnasium,Jewish Encyclopedia: Circumcision: In Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature
"Contact with Grecian life, especially at the games of the arena hich_involved_nudity.html" ;"title="nudity.html" ;"title="hich involved nudity">hich involved nudity">nudity.html" ;"title="hich involved nudity">hich involved nudity made this distinction obnoxious to the Hellenists, or antinationalists; and the consequence was their attempt to appear like the Greeks by
epispasm applied to a circumcised penis for non-surgical foreskin restoration Foreskin restoration is the process of expanding the skin on the Human penis, penis to reconstruct an organ similar to the foreskin, which has been removed by circumcision or injur ...
("making themselves foreskins"; I Macc. i. 15; Josephus, "Ant." xii. 5, § 1; Assumptio Mosis, viii.; I Cor. vii. 18; Tosef., Shab. xv. 9; Yeb. 72a, b; Yer. Peah i. 16b; Yeb. viii. 9a). All the more did the law-observing Jews defy the edict of Antiochus IV Epiphanes prohibiting circumcision (I Macc. i. 48, 60; ii. 46); and the Jewish women showed their loyalty to the Law, even at the risk of their lives, by themselves circumcising their sons.";
where their
circumcision Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin The foreskin is the double-layered fold of smooth muscle tissue, blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system that transport blood throughout the human body. Th ...
would have carried a social stigma;
Classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
,
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...
, and
Roman culture The culture of ancient Rome existed throughout the almost 1200-year history of the civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including ...
found circumcision to be a cruel, barbaric and repulsive custom.


Antiochus IV against Jerusalem

In spring 168 BCE, after successfully invading the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt,
Antiochus IV Antiochus IV Epiphanes (; grc, Ἀντίοχος ὁ Ἐπιφανής, ''Antíochos ho Epiphanḗs'', "God Manifest"; c. 215 BC – November/December 164 BC) was a Hellenistic king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early m ...
was humiliatingly pressured by the Romans to withdraw. According to the Roman historian
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
, the Roman senate dispatched the diplomat Gaius Popilius to Egypt who demanded Antiochus to withdraw. When Antiochus requested time to discuss the matter Popilius "drew a circle round the king with the stick he was carrying and said, 'Before you step out of that circle give me a reply to lay before the senate.'" While Antiochus was campaigning in Egypt, a rumor spread in Judah that he had been killed. The deposed high priest Jason took advantage of the situation, attacked Jerusalem, and drove away Menelaus and his followers. Menelaus took refuge in Akra, the Seleucids fortress in Jerusalem. When Antiochus heard of this, he sent an army to Jerusalem to sort things out. Jerusalem was taken, Jason and his followers were driven out, and Menelaus reinstated as high priest. He then imposed a tax and established a
fortress A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, gov ...
in Jerusalem. Antiochus tried to suppress public observance of Jewish laws, apparently in an attempt to secure control over the Jews. His government set up an
idol Idol or Idols may refer to: In religion and philosophy * Cult image, a neutral term for a man-made object that is worshipped or venerated for the deity, spirit or demon that it embodies or represents * Murti, a point of focus for devotion or med ...
of
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
on the
Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in Jerusalem), known to Muslims as the (Arabic: , , "the Noble Sanctuary", or , , "the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem") and the Compound, is a hill i ...

Temple Mount
, which Jews considered to be desecration of the Mount; it also forbade both circumcision and possession of Jewish scriptures, on pain of death. According to Josephus,
"Now Antiochus was not satisfied either with his unexpected taking the city, or with its pillage, or with the great slaughter he had made there; but being overcome with his violent passions, and remembering what he had suffered during the siege, he compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of their country, and to keep their infants uncircumcised, and to sacrifice swine's flesh upon the altar."William Whiston translation of ''The Wars of the Jews''
/ref>
He also outlawed observance of the
Sabbath In Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Abrahamic ...

Sabbath
and the offering of sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple and required Jewish leaders to sacrifice to idols; punitive executions were also instituted. Possession of Jewish scriptures was made a capital offence. The motives of Antiochus are unclear. He may have been incensed at the overthrow of his appointee, Menelaus,Oesterley, W.O.E., ''A History of Israel'', Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1939 he may have been responding to a Jewish revolt that had drawn on the Temple and the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
for its strength, or he may have been encouraged by a group of radical Hellenisers among the Jews.
Nicholas de Lange Nicholas Robert Michael de Lange (7 August 1944, Nottingham) is Professor of Hebrew language, Hebrew and Jewish studies, Jewish Studies at the University of Cambridge. Academic and literary career Nicholas de Lange is an emeritus fellow at Wolf ...
(ed.), ''The Illustrated History of the Jewish People'', London, Aurum Press, 1997,


Maccabean Revolt

The author of the
First Book of Maccabees The First Book of Maccabees, also called 1 Maccabees, is a book written in Hebrew by an anonymousRappaport, U., ''47. 1 Maccabees'' in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001)The Oxford Bible Commentary, p. 711 Jewish author after the restoration of an ...
regarded the Maccabean revolt as a rising of pious Jews against the Seleucid king who had tried to eradicate their religion and against the Jews who supported him. The author of the Second Book of Maccabees presented the conflict as a struggle between "Judaism" and "Hellenism", words that he was the first to use. Modern scholarship tends to the second view. Most modern scholars argue that the king was intervening in a
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
between traditionalist Jews in the countryside and Hellenised Jews in Jerusalem. According to Joseph P. Schultz, modern scholarship, "considers the Maccabean revolt less as an uprising against foreign oppression than as a civil war between the orthodox and reformist parties in the Jewish camp." In the conflict over the office of High Priest, traditionalists with Hebrew/Aramaic names like Onias contested against Hellenisers with Greek names like Jason or Menelaus. Other authors point to social and economic factors in the conflict.Tcherikover, Victor ''Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews'', New York: Atheneum, 1975 What began as a civil war took on the character of an invasion when the Hellenistic kingdom of Syria sided with the Hellenising Jews against the traditionalists. As the conflict escalated, Antiochus prohibited the practices of the traditionalists, thereby, in a departure from usual Seleucid practice, banning the religion of an entire people. Other scholars argue that while the rising began as a religious rebellion, it was gradually transformed into a war of national liberation.
The two greatest twentieth-century scholars of the Maccabean revolt, Elias Bickermann and Victor Tcherikover, each placed the blame on the policies of the Jewish leaders and not on the Seleucid ruler, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but for different reasons.
Bickermann saw the origin of the problem in the attempt of "Hellenised" Jews to reform the "antiquated" and "outdated" religion practised in Jerusalem, and to rid it of superstitious elements. They were the ones who egged on Antiochus IV and instituted the religious reform in Jerusalem. One suspects that ickermannmay have been influenced in his view by an antipathy to Reform Judaism in 19th- and 20th-century Germany. Tcherikover, perhaps influenced by socialist concerns, saw the uprising as one of the rural peasants against the rich elite.
According to I and II Maccabees, the priestly family of
Mattathias Mattathias ben Johanan ( he, מַתִּתְיָהוּ הַכֹּהֵן בֶּן יוֹחָנָן, ''Matīṯyāhū haKōhēn ben Yōḥānān''; died 166–165 BCE) was a Kohen (Jewish priest) who helped spark the Maccabean Revolt against th ...

Mattathias
(Mattitiyahu in Hebrew), which came to be known as the ''Maccabees'', called the people forth to holy war against the Seleucids. Mattathias' sons
Judas Judas Iscariot (; he, יהודה איש-קריות ; arc, ܝܗܘܕܐ ܣܟܪܝܘܛܐ; el, Ὶούδας Ὶσκαριώτης; died AD) was a Disciple (Christianity), disciple and one of the original Apostles, Twelve Apostles of Jesus Chris ...

Judas
(Yehuda), Jonathan (Yonoson/Yonatan), and Simon (Shimon) began a military campaign, initially with disastrous results: one thousand Jewish men, women, and children were killed by Seleucid troops because they refused to fight, even in self-defence, on the
Sabbath In Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Abrahamic ...

Sabbath
. Other Jews then reasoned that they must fight when attacked, even on the Sabbath. The institution of
guerrilla warfare Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare Irregular warfare (IW) is defined in United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States ...
practices by Judah over several years led to victory against the Seleucids:
It was now, in the fall of 165, that Judah's successes began to disturb the central government. He appears to have controlled the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, and thus to have cut off the royal party in Acra from direct communication with the sea and thus with the government. It is significant that this time the Syrian troops, under the leadership of the governor-general Lysias, took the southerly route, by way of Idumea.
Towards the end of 164, Judah felt strong enough to enter Jerusalem and the formal religious worship of Yahweh was re-established. The feast of
Hanukkah or English translation: 'Establishing' or 'Dedication' (of the Temple in Jerusalem The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome o ...

Hanukkah
was instituted to commemorate the recovery of the temple. Antiochus, who was away on a campaign against the
ParthiansParthian may be: Historical * A demonym "of Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran Iran ...

Parthians
, died at about the same time in
Persis Persis ( grc-gre, , ''Persís''), better known in English as Persia (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Irania ...
. Antiochus was succeeded by
Demetrius I Soter Demetrius I (Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Δημήτριος Α`'', 185 – June 150 BC, reigned September/October 161 – June 150 BC), surnamed Soter (Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Σωτήρ'' - "Savior"), was a ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. ...
, the nephew whose throne he had usurped. Demetrius sent the general Bacchides to Israel with a large army, in order to install
Alcimus Alcimus (from grc-gre, Ἄλκιμος ''Alkimos'', "valiant" or Hebrew אליקום ''Elyaqum'', "God will rise"), also called Jacimus, or Joachim (), was a List of High Priests of Israel, High Priest of Israel for three years, 162–159 BCE, who ...
with the office of high priest. Bacchides subdued Jerusalem and returned to his King.


From revolt to independence


Judah and Jonathan

After five years of war and raids, Judah sought an alliance with the Roman Republic to remove the Greeks: "In the year 161 BCE he sent Eupolemus the son of Johanan and Jason the son of
Eleazar Eleazar (; ) or Elʽazar was a priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, deities. They also have the au ...
, 'to make a league of amity and confederacy with the Romans.'" A Seleucid army under General Nicanor was defeated by Judah (ib. 7:26–50) at the Battle of Adasa, with Nicanor himself killed in action. Next, Bacchides was sent with Alcimus and an army of twenty thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry, and met Judah at the
Battle of Elasa The Battle of Elasa was fought between Jewish and Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Hellenistic state in Western Asia that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. I ...

Battle of Elasa
(Laisa), where this time it was the Hasmonean commander who was killed. (161/160 BCE). Bacchides now established the Hellenes as rulers in Israel; and upon Judah's death, the persecuted patriots, under Jonathan, brother of Judah, fled beyond the Jordan River.(ib. 9:25–27) They set camp near a morass by the name of Asphar, and remained, after several engagements with the Seleucids, in the
swamp A swamp is a forested wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes pre ...

swamp
in the country east of the Jordan. Following the death of his puppet governor
Alcimus Alcimus (from grc-gre, Ἄλκιμος ''Alkimos'', "valiant" or Hebrew אליקום ''Elyaqum'', "God will rise"), also called Jacimus, or Joachim (), was a List of High Priests of Israel, High Priest of Israel for three years, 162–159 BCE, who ...
, High Priest of Jerusalem, Bacchides felt secure enough to leave the country, but two years after the departure of Bacchides from Israel, the City of Acre felt sufficiently threatened by Maccabee incursions to contact Demetrius and request the return of Bacchides to their territory. Jonathan and Simeon, now more experienced in
guerrilla warfare Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare Irregular warfare (IW) is defined in United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States ...
, thought it well to retreat farther, and accordingly fortified in the desert a place called Beth-hogla; there they were several days by Bacchides. Jonathan offered the rival general a
peace treaty A peace treaty is an agreement Agreement may refer to: Agreements between people and organizations * Gentlemen's agreement, not enforceable by law * Trade agreement, between countries * Consensus, a decision-making process * Contract, enforceab ...
and exchange of
prisoners of war A prisoner of war (POW) is a non-combatant Non-combatant is a term of art Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), co ...
. Bacchides readily consented and even took an
oath Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British E ...

oath
of nevermore making war upon Jonathan. He and his forces then vacated Israel. The victorious Jonathan now took up his residence in the old city of
Michmash Michmas ( he, מכמש; sometimes spelt ''Michmash'' ) - "Laid Up hat is, concealedPlace"; a town of Benjamin, east of Bethel and south of Migron, Mateh Binyamin, Migron, on the road to Jerusalem. Location Michmas lay on the line of march of a ...
. From there he endeavoured to clear the land of "the and the
apostate Apostasy (; grc-gre, ἀποστασία ''apostasía'', "a defection or revolt") is the formal disaffiliation from, abandonment of, or renunciation of a religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religi ...
". The chief source, 1 Maccabees, says that with this "the sword ceased in Israel", and in fact nothing is reported for the five following years (158–153 BCE).


Seleucid civil conflict

ImageSize = width:300 height:1000 PlotArea = left:50 right:0 bottom:10 top:10 DateFormat = yyyy Period = from:35 till:175 TimeAxis = orientation:vertical ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:10 start:35 ScaleMinor = unit:year increment:5 start:35 PlotData= Color:yellow mark:(line,blue) align:left fontsize:S shift:(15,-3) # shift text to right side of bar # there is no automatic collision detection, fontsize:XS # so shift texts up or down manually to avoid overlap shift:(25,-10) from:142 till:37 shift:50,400 text:
Hasmonean Dynasty The Hasmonean dynasty ( audio
; he, חַשְׁמוֹנַאִים ''Ḥašmōnaʾīm'') was a ruling ...

Hasmonean Dynasty
at:175 text:
Antiochus IV Antiochus IV Epiphanes (; grc, Ἀντίοχος ὁ Ἐπιφανής, ''Antíochos ho Epiphanḗs'', "God Manifest"; c. 215 BC – November/December 164 BC) was a Hellenistic king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early m ...
becomes
Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...

Seleucid
King. at:168 shift:15,3 text: 168—Jerusalem Temple looted. at:167 text: Altar to Zeus erected in the Temple.~ Maccabee Revolt (167–165). at:165 shift:15,-10 text:
The Temple A temple (from the Latin word ) is a building reserved for religious or spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. The term typically used for such buildings belonging to all faiths where a more specific term such as church ( ...
rededicated;
Hanukkah or English translation: 'Establishing' or 'Dedication' (of the Temple in Jerusalem The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome o ...

Hanukkah
, 165 BCE. at:160 text:
Demetrius I Soter Demetrius I (Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Δημήτριος Α`'', 185 – June 150 BC, reigned September/October 161 – June 150 BC), surnamed Soter (Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Σωτήρ'' - "Savior"), was a ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. ...
recalls garrisons~due to civil war against Alexander Balas,~increasing Hasmonean power. at:153 text:Alexander Balas appoints Jonathan~High Priest. After victory in 150 BCE, Jonathan~becomes civil governor of Israel. at:142 text:Second Jewish Commonwealth established.~Seleucids recognise Jewish semi-autonomy. at:139 text:Roman Senate recognises Jewish autonomy. at:131 text:Antiochus VII besieges Jerusalem. at:130 shift:15,-5 text:Antiochus VII dies. at:110 text:
John Hyrcanus John Hyrcanus (; ''Yōḥānān Hurqanōs''; grc, Ἰωάννης Ὑρκανός, Iōánnēs Hurkanós) was a Hasmonean ( Maccabean) leader and Jewish High Priest of Israel, high priest of the 2nd century BCE (born 164 BCE, reigned from 134 BC ...

John Hyrcanus
gains full independence~and begins conquests, 110 BCE. at:96 text:An eight year civil war begins. at:83 text:Consolidation of the Kingdom~in territory east of the Jordan River. at:63 text:63-Aristobulus II, Hyrcanus II appeal to Rome.~Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, 64-Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus enters~Jerusalem. Rome annexes the Kingdom.~Hyrcanus II restored, reigns to 40 BCE~Aristobulus II made captive in Rome. # Kings at:142 shift:10,10 text:
Simon Thassi Simon Thassi ( he, ''Šīməʿōn haTassī''; died 135 BCE Common Era (CE) is one of the year notations used for the Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 158 ...
, 141–135 at:134 text:John Hyrcanus, Hyrcanus I, 134–104 at:104 text:Aristobulus I, 104–103 at:103 shift: 15,-10 text:Alexander Jannaeus, 103–76 at:76 text:Salome Alexandra –67 at:67 text:
Hyrcanus II John Hyrcanus II (, ''Yohanan Hurqanos'') (died 30 BCE), a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, was for a long time the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an i ...

Hyrcanus II
, 67–66 at:66 shift: 15,-7 text:
Aristobulus II Hasmonean Kingdom under Aristobulus II Aristobulus II (, he, אריסטובולוס; grc, Ἀριστόβουλος ''Aristóboulos'') was the Jewish Kohen Gadol, High Priest and King of Judea, 66 BCE to 63 BCE, from the Hasmonean dynasty. Fami ...

Aristobulus II
, 66–63 at:50 shift: 15,10 text:Pompey's agents murder Aristobulus II~in Rome (50 BCE) to weaken Julius Caesar at:48 text:Pompey murdered (48 BCE); Hyrcanus and~Antipater the Idumaean, Antipater aid
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
at Alexandria at:44 text:
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
murdered. (44 BCE) at:40 shift: 15,10 text:Parthian Empire, Parthian invasion, Antigonus crowned, 40–37 at:38 shift: 15,10 text:Romans under Mark Antony and Augustus~support Herod's claim as King of the Jews. at:37 shift: 15,-5 text:
Herod the Great Herod I (; ; grc-gre, ; c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romu ...
victorious, rules 37 BCE–4 CE
An important external event brought the design of the Maccabeans to fruition.
Demetrius I Soter Demetrius I (Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Δημήτριος Α`'', 185 – June 150 BC, reigned September/October 161 – June 150 BC), surnamed Soter (Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Σωτήρ'' - "Savior"), was a ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. ...
's relations with Attalus II Philadelphus of Pergamon (reigned 159–138 BCE), Ptolemy VI of Egypt (reigned 163–145 BCE), and Ptolemy's co-ruler Cleopatra II of Egypt were deteriorating, and they supported a rival claimant to the Seleucid throne: Alexander Balas, who purported to be the son of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and a first cousin of Demetrius. Demetrius was forced to recall the garrisons of Judea, except those in the City of Acre and at Beth-zur, to bolster his strength. Furthermore, he made a bid for the loyalty of Jonathan, permitting him to recruit an army and to reclaim the hostages kept in the City of Acre. Jonathan gladly accepted these terms, took up residence at Jerusalem in 153 BCE, and began fortifying the city. Alexander Balas offered Jonathan even more favourable terms, including official appointment as High Priest in Jerusalem, and despite a second letter from Demetrius promising prerogatives that were almost impossible to guarantee, Jonathan declared allegiance to Balas. Jonathan became the official leader of his people, and officiated at the Sukkot, Feast of Tabernacles of 153 BCE wearing the High Priest's garments. The Hellenistic party could no longer attack him without severe consequences. Soon, Demetrius lost both his throne and his life, in 150 BCE. The victorious Alexander Balas was given the further honour of marriage to Cleopatra Thea, daughter of his allies Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II. Jonathan was invited to Ptolemais for the ceremony, appearing with presents for both kings, and was permitted to sit between them as their equal; Balas even clothed him with his own royal garment and otherwise accorded him high honour. Balas appointed Jonathan as strategos and "meridarch" (i.e., civil governor of a province; details not found in Josephus), sent him back with honours to Jerusalem, and refused to listen to the Hellenistic party's complaints against Jonathan.


Hasmoneans under Balas and Demetrius II

In 147 BCE, Demetrius II Nicator, a son of Demetrius I Soter, claimed Balas' throne. The governor of Coele-Syria, Apollonius Taos, used the opportunity to challenge Jonathan to battle, saying that the Jews might for once leave the mountains and venture out into the plain. Jonathan and Simeon led a force of 10,000 men against Apollonius' forces in Jaffa, which was unprepared for the rapid attack and opened the gates in surrender to the Jewish forces. Apollonius received reinforcements from Azotus and appeared in the plain in charge of 3,000 men including superior cavalry forces. Jonathan assaulted, captured and burned Azotus along with the resident temple of Dagon and the surrounding villages. Alexander Balas honoured the victorious High Priest by giving him the city of Ekron along with its outlying territory. The people of Azotus complained to King Ptolemy VI, who had come to make war upon his son-in-law, but Jonathan met Ptolemy at Jaffa in peace and accompanied him as far as the River Eleutherus. Jonathan then returned to Jerusalem, maintaining peace with the King of Egypt despite their support for different contenders for the Seleucid throne.


Hasmoneans under Demetrius and Diodotus

In 145 BCE, the Battle of Antioch (145 BC), Battle of Antioch resulted in the final defeat of Alexander Balas by the forces of his father-in-law Ptolemy VI. Ptolemy himself, however, was among the casualties of the battle. Demetrius II Nicator remained sole ruler of the Seleucid Empire and became the second husband of Cleopatra Thea. Jonathan owed no allegiance to the new King and took this opportunity to lay siege to the Acra (fortress), Acra, the Seleucid fortress in Jerusalem and the symbol of Seleucid control over Judea. It was heavily garrisoned by a Seleucid force and offered asylum to Jewish Hellenists. Demetrius was greatly incensed; he appeared with an army at Ptolemais and ordered Jonathan to come before him. Without raising the siege, Jonathan, accompanied by the elders and priests, went to the king and pacified him with presents, so that the king not only confirmed him in his office of high priest, but gave to him the three Samaritan toparchies of Mount Ephraim, Lod, and Ramathaim-Zophim. In consideration of a present of 300 Talent (weight), talents the entire country was exempted from taxes, the exemption being confirmed in writing. Jonathan in return lifted the siege of the Acra and left it in Seleucid hands. Soon, however, a new claimant to the Seleucid throne appeared in the person of the young Antiochus VI Dionysus, son of Alexander Balas and Cleopatra Thea. He was three years old at most, but general Diodotus Tryphon used him to advance his own designs on the throne. In the face of this new enemy, Demetrius not only promised to withdraw the garrison from the City of Acre, but also called Jonathan his ally and requested him to send troops. The 3,000 men of Jonathan protected Demetrius in his capital,
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
, against his own subjects. As Demetrius II did not keep his promise, Jonathan thought it better to support the new king when Diodotus Tryphon and Antiochus VI seized the capital, especially as the latter confirmed all his rights and appointed his brother Simon (Simeon) strategos of the Paralia (Palestine), Paralia (the sea coast), from the "Ladder of Tyre (Lebanon), Tyre" to the frontier of Ptolemaic Egypt, Egypt. Jonathan and Simon were now entitled to make conquests; Ashkelon submitted voluntarily while Gaza was forcibly taken. Jonathan vanquished even the strategoi of Demetrius II far to the north, in the plain of Hazar, while Simon at the same time took the strong fortress of Beth-zur on the pretext that it harboured supporters of Demetrius. Like Judah in former years, Jonathan sought alliances with foreign peoples. He renewed the treaty with the Roman Republic and exchanged friendly messages with Sparta and other places. However, the documents referring to those diplomatic events are of questionable authenticity. Diodotus Tryphon went with an army to Judea and invited Jonathan to Bet She'an, Scythopolis for a friendly conference, where he persuaded him to dismiss his army of 40,000 men, promising to give him Ptolemais and other fortresses. Jonathan fell into the trap; he took with him to Ptolemais 1,000 men, all of whom were slain; he himself was taken prisoner.


Simon assumes leadership

When Diodotus Tryphon was about to enter Judea at Hadid, he was confronted by the new Jewish leader, Simon, ready for battle. Tryphon, avoiding an engagement, demanded one hundred talents and Jonathan's two sons as hostages, in return for which he promised to liberate Jonathan. Although Simon did not trust Diodotus Tryphon, he complied with the request so that he might not be accused of the death of his brother. But Diodotus Tryphon did not liberate his prisoner; angry that Simon blocked his way everywhere and that he could accomplish nothing, he executed Jonathan at Baskama, in the country east of the Jordan. Jonathan was buried by Simeon at Modin. Nothing is known of his two captive sons. One of his daughters was an ancestor of Josephus. Simon assumed the leadership (142 BCE), receiving the double office of High Priest and prince of Israel. The leadership of the Hasmoneans was established by a resolution, adopted in 141 BCE, at a large assembly "of the priests and the people and of the elders of the land, to the effect that Simon should be their leader and High Priest forever, until there should arise a messiah, faithful prophet" (1 Macc. 14:41). Ironically, the election was performed in Hellenistic fashion. Simon, having made the Jewish people semi-independent of the Seleucid Greeks, reigned from 142 to 135 BCE and formed the Hasmonean dynasty, finally capturing the Acra (fortress), citadel [Acra] in 141 BCE. The Roman Senate accorded the new dynasty recognition BCE, when the delegation of Simon was in Rome. Simon led the people in peace and prosperity, until in February 135 BCE, he was assassination, assassinated at the instigation of his son-in-law Ptolemy (son of Abubus), Ptolemy, son of Abubus (also spelled Abobus or Abobi), who had been named governor of the region by the Seleucids. Simon's eldest sons, Mattathias and Judah, were also murdered.


Hasmonean expansion and civil war

In BCE, John Hyrcanus, Simon's third son, assumed the leadership and ruled as high priest (Kohen Gadol) and took a Greek "regnal name" (see Hyrcania) in an acceptance of the Hellenistic culture of his
Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...

Seleucid
suzerains. Within a year of the death of Simon,
Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...

Seleucid
King Antiochus VII Sidetes attacked Jerusalem. According to
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
,
John Hyrcanus John Hyrcanus (; ''Yōḥānān Hurqanōs''; grc, Ἰωάννης Ὑρκανός, Iōánnēs Hurkanós) was a Hasmonean ( Maccabean) leader and Jewish High Priest of Israel, high priest of the 2nd century BCE (born 164 BCE, reigned from 134 BC ...

John Hyrcanus
opened King David's sepulchre and removed three thousand talents which he paid as tribute to spare the city. He remained governor as a
Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...

Seleucid
vassal. For the next two decades of his reign, Hyrcanus continued, like his father, to rule semi-autonomously from the Seleucids. The Seleucid empire had been disintegrating in the face of the Seleucid–Parthian wars and in 129 BCE Antiochus VII Sidetes was killed in Median Empire, Media by the forces of Phraates II of Parthia, permanently ending Seleucid rule east of the Euphrates. In 116 BCE, a civil war between Seleucid half-brothers Antiochus VIII Grypus and Antiochus IX Cyzicenus broke out, resulting in a further breakup of the already significantly reduced kingdom. This provided opportunity for semi-independent Seleucid client states such as Judea to revolt. In 110 BCE,
John Hyrcanus John Hyrcanus (; ''Yōḥānān Hurqanōs''; grc, Ἰωάννης Ὑρκανός, Iōánnēs Hurkanós) was a Hasmonean ( Maccabean) leader and Jewish High Priest of Israel, high priest of the 2nd century BCE (born 164 BCE, reigned from 134 BC ...

John Hyrcanus
carried out the first military conquests of the newly independent Hasmonean kingdom, raising a mercenary army to capture Madaba and Schechem, significantly increasing his regional influence. Hyrcanus conquered Transjordan (region), Transjordan,
Samaria Samaria, , also known as , 'Nablus Mountains' () is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the Land of Israel, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set t ...

Samaria
, and Idumea (also known as Edom), and forced Idumeans to convert to Judaism:
Hyrcanus ... subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, (25) and of the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.
He desired that his wife succeed him as head of the government, with his eldest of five sons, Aristobulus I, becoming only the high-priest. Upon Hyrcanus' death, however, Aristobulus jailed his mother and three brothers, including Alexander Jannaeus, and allowed her to starve there. By this means he came into possession of the throne and became the first Hasmonean to take the title
basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic quali ...
, asserting the new-found independence of the state. Subsequently he conquered
Galilee Galilee (; he, הַגָּלִיל, ha-galil; ar, الجليل, al-jalīl) is a region located in northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part, divided into Upper Galilee (, ; , ) and Lower Galil ...

Galilee
. Aristobulus I died after a painful illness in 103 BCE. Aristobulus' brothers were freed from prison by his widow; Alexander reigned from 103–76 BCE, and died during the siege of the fortress Ragaba. In BCE, according to Josephus, following a six-year civil war involving Seleucid king Demetrius III Eucaerus, Hasmonean ruler Alexander Jannaeus crucified 800 Jewish rebels in Jerusalem. The Hasmoneans lost the territories acquired in Transjordan during the 93 BC Battle of Gadara, where the Nabataeans ambushed Jannaeus and his forces in a hilly area. The Nabataeans saw the acquisitions as a threat to their interests, and used a large number of camels to push the Hasmonean forces into a deep valley where Jannaeus was "lucky to escape alive". Jannaeus returned to fierce Jewish opposition in Jerusalem after his defeat, and had to cede the acquired territories to the Nabataeans so that he could dissuade them from supporting his opponents in Judea. Alexander was followed by his wife, Salome Alexandra, who reigned from 76–67 BCE. She was the only ''queen regnant, regnant'' Jewish Queen. During her reign, her son
Hyrcanus II John Hyrcanus II (, ''Yohanan Hurqanos'') (died 30 BCE), a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, was for a long time the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an i ...

Hyrcanus II
held the office of High Priest and was named her successor.


Pharisee and Sadducee factions

It is difficult to state at what time the Pharisees, as a party, arose. Josephus first mentions them in connection with Jonathan, the successor of Judas Maccabeus ("Ant." xiii. 5, § 9). One of the factors that distinguished the Pharisees from other groups prior to the destruction of the Temple was their belief that all Jews had to observe the purity laws (which applied to the Temple service) outside the Temple. The major difference, however, was the continued adherence of the Pharisees to the laws and traditions of the Jewish people in the face of assimilation. As Josephus noted, the Pharisees were considered the most expert and accurate expositors of Jewish law. During the Hasmonean period, the Sadducees and Pharisees functioned primarily as political parties. Although the Pharisees had opposed the wars of expansion of the Hasmoneans and the forced conversions of the Idumeans, the political rift between them became wider when Pharisees demanded that the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus choose between being king and being High Priest. In response, the king openly sided with the Sadducees by adopting their rites in the Temple. His actions caused a riot in the Temple and led to a brief civil war that ended with a bloody repression of the Pharisees, although at his deathbed the king called for a reconciliation between the two parties. Alexander was succeeded by his widow, Salome Alexandra, whose brother was Shimon ben Shetach, a leading Pharisee. Upon her death her elder son, Hyrcanus, sought Pharisee support, and her younger son, Aristobulus, sought the support of the Sadducees. The conflict between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus culminated in a civil war that ended when the Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem in 63 BCE and inaugurated the Roman period of Jewish history. Josephus attests that Salome Alexandra was very favourably inclined toward the Pharisees and that their political influence grew tremendously under her reign, especially in the institution known as the Sanhedrin. Later texts such as the Mishnah and the Talmud record a host of rulings ascribed to the Pharisees concerning sacrifices and other ritual practices in the Temple, torts, criminal law, and governance. The influence of the Pharisees over the lives of the common people remained strong, and their rulings on Jewish law were deemed authoritative by many. Although these texts were written long after these periods, many scholars believe that they are a fairly reliable account of history during the Second Temple era.


Civil war

Alexander Jannaeus' son, Hyrcanus II, had scarcely reigned three months when his younger brother,
Aristobulus II Hasmonean Kingdom under Aristobulus II Aristobulus II (, he, אריסטובולוס; grc, Ἀριστόβουλος ''Aristóboulos'') was the Jewish Kohen Gadol, High Priest and King of Judea, 66 BCE to 63 BCE, from the Hasmonean dynasty. Fami ...

Aristobulus II
, rose in rebellion, whereupon Hyrcanus advanced against him at the head of an army of mercenaries and his Pharisee followers: "Now Hyrcanus was heir to the kingdom, and to him did his mother commit it before she died; but Aristobulus was superior to him in power and magnanimity; and when there was a battle between them, to decide the dispute about the kingdom, near Jericho, the greatest part deserted Hyrcanus, and went over to Aristobulus." Hyrcanus took refuge in the citadel of Jerusalem, but the capture of the Temple by Aristobulus II compelled Hyrcanus to surrender. A peace was then concluded, according to the terms of which Hyrcanus was to renounce the throne and the office of high priest (comp. Emil Schürer, "Gesch." i. 291, note 2), but was to enjoy the revenues of the latter office: "but Hyrcanus, with those of his party who stayed with him, fled to Antonia, and got into his power the hostages (which were Aristobulus's wife, with her children) that he might persevere; but the parties came to an agreement before things should come to extremes, that Aristobulus should be king, and Hyrcanus should resign, but retain all the rest of his dignities, as being the king's brother. Hereupon they were reconciled to each other in the Temple, and embraced one another in a very kind manner, while the people stood round about them; they also changed their houses, while Aristobulus went to the royal palace, and Hyrcanus retired to the house of Aristobulus." Aristobulus ruled from 67–63 BCE). From 63–40 BCE, the government was in the hands of Hyrcanus II as High Priest and Ethnarch, although effective power was in the hands of his adviser Antipater the Idumaean.


Intrigues of Antipater

The struggle would have ended here but for Antipater the Idumean. Antipater saw clearly that it would be easier to reach the object of his ambition, the control of Judea, under the government of the weak Hyrcanus than under the warlike and energetic Aristobulus. He accordingly began to impress upon Hyrcanus' mind that Aristobulus was planning his death, finally persuading him to take refuge with Aretas III, Aretas, king of the Nabatæans. Aretas, bribed by Antipater, who also promised him the restitution of the Arabian towns taken by the Hasmoneans, readily espoused the cause of Hyrcanus and advanced toward Jerusalem with an army of fifty thousand. During the siege, which lasted several months, the adherents of Hyrcanus were guilty of two acts that greatly incensed the majority of the Jews: they stoned the pious Onias (see Honi ha-Magel) and, instead of a lamb which the besieged had bought of the besiegers for the purpose of the paschal sacrifice, sent a pig. Honi, ordered to curse the besieged, prayed: "Lord of the universe, as the besieged and the besiegers both belong to Thy people, I beseech Thee not to answer the evil prayers of either." The pig incident is derived from rabbinical sources. According to Josephus, the besiegers kept the enormous price of one thousand drachmas they had asked for the lamb.


Roman intervention


Pompey the Great

While this civil war was going on the Roman general Marcus Aemilius Scaurus (praetor 56 BC), Marcus Aemilius Scaurus went to Syria to take possession, in the name of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, of the kingdom of the Seleucids. The brothers appealed to him, each endeavouring by gifts and promises to win him over to his side. At first Scaurus, moved by a gift of four hundred talents, decided in favour of Aristobulus. Aretas was ordered to withdraw his army from Judea, and while retreating suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Aristobulus. But when Pompey came to Syria (63 BCE), a different situation arose. Pompey, who had just been awarded the title "Conqueror of Asia" due to his decisive victories in Asia Minor over Kingdom of Pontus, Pontus and the Seleucid Empire, had decided to bring Judea under the rule of the Romans. He took the same view of Hyrcanus' ability, and was moved by much the same motives as Antipater: as a ward of Rome, Hyrcanus would be more acceptable than Aristobulus. When, therefore, the brothers, as well as delegates of the people's party, which, weary of Hasmonean quarrels, desired the extinction of the dynasty, presented themselves before Pompey, he delayed the decision, in spite of Aristobulus' gift of a golden vine valued at five hundred talents. The latter, however, fathomed the designs of Pompey, and assembled his armies. Pompey defeated him multiple times however and captured his cities. Aristobulus II entrenched himself in the fortress of Alexandrium; but, soon realising the uselessness of resistance, surrendered at the first summons of the Romans, and undertook to deliver Jerusalem to them. The patriots, however, were not willing to open their gates to the Romans, and a Siege of Jerusalem (63 BC), siege ensued which ended with the capture of the city. Pompey entered the Holy of Holies; this was only the second time that someone had dared to penetrate into this sacred spot. Iudaea Province, Judaea had to pay tribute to Rome and was placed under the supervision of the Roman governor of Syria:
In 63 BC, Judaea became a protectorate of Rome. Coming under the administration of a governor, Judaea was allowed a king; the governor's business was to regulate trade and maximise tax revenue.
In 57–55 BCE, Aulus Gabinius, proconsul of Roman Syria#Provincia Syria, Syria, split the former Hasmonean Kingdom into Galilee, Samaria, and Judea, with five districts of legal and religious councils known as ''sanhedrin'' (Greek: συνέδριον, "synedrion"): "And when he had ordained five councils (συνέδρια), he distributed the nation into the same number of parts. So these councils governed the people; the first was at Jerusalem, the second at Umm Qais, Gadara, the third at Amathus, the fourth at
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a State of Palestine, Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is located in the Jordan Valley, with the Jordan River to the east and Jerusalem to the west. It is the administrative sea ...

Jericho
, and the fifth at Sepphoris in Galilee."


Pompey and Caesar

Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
initially supported Aristobulus against Hyrcanus and Antipater. Between the weakness of Hyrcanus and the ambition of Aristobulus, Judea lost its independence. Aristobulus was taken to Rome a prisoner, and Hyrcanus was reappointed High Priest, but without political authority. When, in 50 BCE, it appeared that Julius Caesar was interested in using Aristobulus and his family as his clients to take control of Judea from Hyrcanus and Antipater, who were beholden to Pompey, supporters of Pompey had Aristobulus poisoned in Rome and executed Alexander in
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
. However, Pompey's pawns soon had occasion to turn to the other side:
At the beginning of the civil war between [Caesar] and Pompey, Hyrcanus, at the instance of Antipater, prepared to support the man to whom he owed his position; but when Pompey was murdered, Antipater led the Jewish forces to the help of Caesar, who was hard pressed at Alexandria. His timely help and his influence over the Egyptian Jews recommended him to Caesar's favour, and secured for him an extension of his authority in Palestine, and for Hyrcanus the confirmation of his ethnarchy. Joppa was restored to the Hasmonean domain, Judea was granted freedom from all tribute and taxes to Rome, and the independence of the internal administration was guaranteed."
The timely aid from Antipater and Hyrcanus led the triumphant Caesar to ignore the claims of Aristobulus's younger son, Antigonus the Hasmonean, and to confirm Hyrcanus and Antipater in their authority, despite their previous allegiance to Pompey. Josephus noted,
Antigonus... came to Caesar... and accused Hyrcanus and Antipater, how they had driven him and his brethren entirely out of their native country... and that as to the assistance they had sent [to Caesar] into Egypt, it was not done out of good-will to him, but out of the fear they were in from former quarrels, and in order to gain pardon for their friendship to [his enemy] Pompey.
Hyrcanus' restoration as ethnarch in 47 BCE coincided with Caesar's appointment of Antipater as the first Judea (Roman province), Roman Procurator, allowing Antipater to promote the interests of his own house: "Caesar appointed Hyrcanus to be high priest, and gave Antipater what principality he himself should choose, leaving the determination to himself; so he made him procurator of Judea." Antipater appointed his sons to positions of influence: Phasael became Governor of Jerusalem, and Herod Governor of Galilee. This led to increasing tension between Hyrcanus and the family of Antipater, culminating in a trial of Herod for supposed abuses in his governorship, which resulted in Herod's flight into exile in 46 BCE. Herod soon returned, however, and the honours to Antipater's family continued. Hyrcanus' incapacity and weakness were so manifest that, when he defended Herod against the Sanhedrin and before
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
, the latter stripped Hyrcanus of his nominal political authority and his title, bestowing them both upon the accused. Assassination of Julius Caesar, Caesar was assassinated in 44 BCE and unrest and confusion spread throughout the Roman world, including Judaea. Antipater the Idumean was assassinated in 43 BCE by the Nabatean king, Malichus I, who had bribed one of Hyrcanus’ cup-bearers to poison and kill Antipater. However, Antipater's sons managed to maintain their control over Judea and their father's puppet Hasmonean, Hyrcanus.


Parthian invasion, Antony, Augustus

After Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 BCE, Quintus Labienus, a Roman republican general and ambassador to the
ParthiansParthian may be: Historical * A demonym "of Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran Iran ...

Parthians
, sided with Brutus and Cassius in the Liberators' civil war; after their defeat Labienus joined the Parthians and assisted them in invading Roman territories in 40 BCE. The Parthian army crossed the Euphrates and Labienus was able to entice Mark Antony's Roman garrisons around Syria to rally to his cause. The Parthians split their army, and under Pacorus I of Parthia, Pacorus conquered the Levant from the Phoenician coast through the Land of Israel:
Antigonus... roused the Parthians to invade Syria and Palestine, [and] the Jews eagerly rose in support of the scion of the Maccabean house, and drove out the hated Idumeans with their puppet Jewish king. The struggle between the people and the Romans had begun in earnest, and though Antigonus, when placed on the throne by the Parthians, proceeded to spoil and harry the Jews, rejoicing at the restoration of the Hasmonean line, thought a new era of independence had come.
When Phasael and
Hyrcanus II John Hyrcanus II (, ''Yohanan Hurqanos'') (died 30 BCE), a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, was for a long time the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an i ...

Hyrcanus II
set out on an embassy to the Parthians, the Parthians instead captured them. Antigonus, who was present, cut off Hyrcanus's ears to make him unsuitable for the High Priesthood, while Phasael was put to death. Antigonus, whose Hebrew name was Mattathias, bore the double title of king and High Priest for only three years, as he had not disposed of Herod, the most dangerous of his enemies. Herod fled into exile and sought the support of Mark Antony. Herod was designated "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate in 40 BCE: Antony
then resolved to get [Herod] made king of the Jews...[and] told [the Senate] that it was for their advantage in the Parthian Empire, Parthian war that Herod should be king; so they all gave their votes for it. And when the senate was separated, Antony and Augustus, Caesar [Augustus] went out, with Herod between them; while the consul and the rest of the magistrates went before them, in order to offer sacrifices [to the Roman gods], and to lay the decree in the Capitol. Antony also made a feast for Herod on the first day of his reign.
The struggle thereafter lasted for some years, as the main Roman forces were occupied with defeating the Parthians and had few additional resources to use to support Herod. After the Parthians' defeat, Herod was victorious over his rival in 37 BCE. Antigonus was delivered to Antony and executed shortly thereafter. The Romans assented to Herod's proclamation as King of the Jews, bringing about the end of the Hasmonean rule over Judea.


Herod and the end of the dynasty

Antigonus was not, however, the last Hasmonean. The fate of the remaining male members of the family under Herod was not a happy one. Aristobulus III, grandson of Aristobulus II through his elder son Alexander, was briefly made high priest, but was soon executed (36 BCE) due to Herod's jealousy. His sister Mariamne was married to Herod, but fell victim to his notorious jealousy. Her sons by Herod, Aristobulus IV and Alexander, were in their adulthood also executed by their father.
Hyrcanus II John Hyrcanus II (, ''Yohanan Hurqanos'') (died 30 BCE), a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, was for a long time the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an i ...

Hyrcanus II
had been held by the Parthians since 40 BCE. For four years, until 36 BCE, he lived amid the Babylonian Jews, who paid him every mark of respect. In that year Herod, who feared that Hyrcanus might induce the Parthians to help him regain the throne, invited him to return to Jerusalem. The Babylonian Jews warned him in vain. Herod received him with every mark of respect, assigning him the first place at his table and the presidency of the state council, while awaiting an opportunity to get rid of him. As the last remaining Hasmonean, Hyrcanus was too dangerous a rival for Herod. In the year 30 BCE, charged with plotting with the King of Arabia, Hyrcanus was condemned and executed. The later Herodian rulers
Agrippa I Herod Agrippa, also known as Herod II or Agrippa I (; 11 BC – AD 44), was a Herodian Dynasty, King of Judea from AD 41 to 44 and of Philip's tetrarchy from 39. He was the last ruler with the royal title reigning over Judea (Roman province), J ...

Agrippa I
and
Agrippa II Herod Agrippa II (; AD 27/28 – or 100), officially named Marcus Julius Agrippa and sometimes shortened to Agrippa, was the last ruler from the Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty#REDIRECT Herodian dynasty ...

Agrippa II
both had Hasmonean blood, as Agrippa I's father was Aristobulus IV, son of Herod by Mariamne I, but they were not direct male descendants, unless Herod was understood as a Hasmonean as per the following synthesis: According to Josephus, Herod was also of Maccabean descent: *Eleazar Maccabeus called Auran brother of
Judas Maccabeus Judah Maccabee (or Judas Maccabeus, also spelled Machabeus, or Maccabæus, Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Judas Maccabeus
(Josephus Antiquity of the Jews Book XII/Chapter 9/Section 4) *Jason son of Eleazar (Ditto: Book XII/Chapter 10/Section 6) *Antipater I son of Jason (Ditto: Book XIII/Chapter 5/Section 8) *Antipater II Antipas son of Antipater I (Ditto: Book XIV/Chapter 1/Section 3) *Herod


Legacy and scholarship

While the Hasmonean dynasty managed to create an independent Jewish kingdom, its successes were rather short-lived, and the dynasty by and large failed to live up to the nationalistic momentum the Maccabee brothers had gained.


Jewish nationalism

The fall of the Hasmonean Kingdom marked an end to a century of Jewish self-governance, but Jewish nationalism and desire for independence continued under Roman rule, beginning with the Census of Quirinius in AD 6 and leading to a series of Jewish-Roman wars in the 1st–2nd centuries, including the First Jewish–Roman War, Great Revolt (AD 66–73), the Kitos War (115–117), and Bar Kokhba's revolt (132–135). During the wars, temporary commonwealths were established, but they ultimately fell to the sustained might of Rome. Roman legions under Vespasian and Titus Destruction of Jerusalem, besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, looted and burned Herod's Temple (in the year 70) and Jewish strongholds (notably Gamla in 67 and Masada in 73), and Slavery, enslaved or Wiktionary:massacre, massacred a large part of the Jewish population. The defeat of the Jewish revolts against the Roman Empire notably contributed to the numbers and geography of the Jewish Diaspora, as many Jews were scattered after losing their state or were sold into slavery throughout the empire.


Jewish religious scholarship

Jewish tradition holds that the claiming of kingship by the later Hasmoneans led to their eventual downfall, since that title was only to be held by descendants of the line of David, King David. The Hasmonean bureaucracy was filled with men with Greek names, and the dynasty eventually became very Hellenization, Hellenised, to the annoyance of many of its more traditionally-minded Jewish subjects. Frequent dynastic quarrels also contributed to the view among Jews of later generations that the latter Hasmoneans were degenerate. One member of this school was Josephus, whose accounts are in many cases our sole source of information about the Hasmoneans.


Historiography

The books of Maccabees use the names "Judea" and "Israel" (or cognates) as geographical descriptors throughout for both the land and people over whom the Hasmoneans would rule. The Talmud includes one of the Hasmonean kings under the description "Kings of Israel". Scholars refer to the state as the Hasmonean Kingdom to distinguish it from the previous kingdoms of Israel. The name "Judaea" has also been used to describe the Hasmonean Kingdom although this name reflects the later designation of the region under the Romans at the time of Josephus' writings in the late 1st century.


Numismatics

Hasmonean coins usually featured the Paleo-Hebrew script, an older Phoenician language, Phoenician script that was used to write Hebrew. The coins are struck only in bronze. The symbols include a cornucopia, palm-branch, lily, an anchor, star, pomegranate and (rarely) a helmet. Despite the apparent
Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...

Seleucid
influences of most of the symbols, the origin of the star is more obscure.


Hasmonean leaders


Maccabees (rebel leaders)

#
Mattathias Mattathias ben Johanan ( he, מַתִּתְיָהוּ הַכֹּהֵן בֶּן יוֹחָנָן, ''Matīṯyāhū haKōhēn ben Yōḥānān''; died 166–165 BCE) was a Kohen (Jewish priest) who helped spark the Maccabean Revolt against th ...

Mattathias
, 170–167 BCE #
Judas Maccabeus Judah Maccabee (or Judas Maccabeus, also spelled Machabeus, or Maccabæus, Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Judas Maccabeus
, 167–160 BCE #Jonathan Apphus, 160–143 BCE (High Priest after 152 BCE)


Monarchs (Ethnarchs and Kings) and High Priests

#
Simon Thassi Simon Thassi ( he, ''Šīməʿōn haTassī''; died 135 BCE Common Era (CE) is one of the year notations used for the Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 158 ...
, 142–135 BCE (Ethnarch and High Priest) #John Hyrcanus, John Hyrcanus I, 134–104 BCE (Ethnarch and High Priest) #Aristobulus I, 104–103 BCE (King and High Priest) #Alexander Jannaeus, 103–76 BCE (King and High Priest) #Salome Alexandra, 76–67 BCE (only Queen) #
Hyrcanus II John Hyrcanus II (, ''Yohanan Hurqanos'') (died 30 BCE), a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, was for a long time the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an i ...

Hyrcanus II
, 67–66 BCE (King from 67 BCE; High Priest from 76 BCE) #
Aristobulus II Hasmonean Kingdom under Aristobulus II Aristobulus II (, he, אריסטובולוס; grc, Ἀριστόβουλος ''Aristóboulos'') was the Jewish Kohen Gadol, High Priest and King of Judea, 66 BCE to 63 BCE, from the Hasmonean dynasty. Fami ...

Aristobulus II
, 66–63 BCE (King and High Priest) #
Hyrcanus II John Hyrcanus II (, ''Yohanan Hurqanos'') (died 30 BCE), a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, was for a long time the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an i ...

Hyrcanus II
(restored), 63–40 BCE (High Priest from 63 BCE; Ethnarch from 47 BCE) #Antigonus the Hasmonean, Antigonus, 40–37 BCE (King and High Priest) #Aristobulus III of Israel, Aristobulus III, 36 BCE (only High Priest) File:Hasmonean_dynasty.gif, Territorial expansion of the kingdom, 167 - 80 BC File:Judea Judas Makk.PNG, Judea under
Judas Maccabeus Judah Maccabee (or Judas Maccabeus, also spelled Machabeus, or Maccabæus, Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Judas Maccabeus
File:Judea Jonathan Makk.PNG, Judea under Jonathan Apphus File:Judea Simon Makk.PNG, Hasmonean Kingdom under
Simon Thassi Simon Thassi ( he, ''Šīməʿōn haTassī''; died 135 BCE Common Era (CE) is one of the year notations used for the Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 158 ...
File:Judea Johannes Hyrcanus.PNG, Hasmonean Kingdom under
John Hyrcanus John Hyrcanus (; ''Yōḥānān Hurqanōs''; grc, Ἰωάννης Ὑρκανός, Iōánnēs Hurkanós) was a Hasmonean ( Maccabean) leader and Jewish High Priest of Israel, high priest of the 2nd century BCE (born 164 BCE, reigned from 134 BC ...

John Hyrcanus
File:Judea Aristobulus I.PNG, Hasmonean Kingdom under Aristobulus I, Aristobulus File:Judea Alexander Janneüs.PNG, Hasmonean Kingdom under Alexander Jannaeus File:Hasmoneese rijk.PNG, Hasmonean Kingdom under Salome Alexandra File:Judea na Pompeius.PNG, Roman Judea under
Hyrcanus II John Hyrcanus II (, ''Yohanan Hurqanos'') (died 30 BCE), a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, was for a long time the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an i ...

Hyrcanus II


See also

* Hasmonean coinage * History of ancient Israel and Judah * Hasmonean royal winter palaces * List of Jewish states and dynasties * Siege of Jerusalem (37 BC) * Temple in Jerusalem


References


Sources

* * * * *
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus

''Antiquities of the Jews''
* * * * ''The Hasmoneans in Jewish Historiography'' Samuel Schafler, Diss, DHL, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, 1973 * * * *


Further reading

* Atkinson, Kenneth. ''A History of the Hasmonean State: Josephus and Beyond''. New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016. * Berthelot, Katell . ''In Search of the Promised Land?: The Hasmonean Dynasty between Biblical Models and Hellenistic Diplomacy.''Göttingen Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2017. 494 pp. . * Davies, W. D, Louis Finkelstein, and William Horbury. ''The Cambridge History of Judaism. Vol. 2: Hellenistic Age''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. * Derfler, Steven Lee. ''The Hasmonean Revolt: rebellion or revolution?'' Lewiston: E Mellen Press, 1989. * Eshel, Hanan. ''Dead Sea scrolls and the Hasmonean state''. Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi Pr., 2008. * Schäfer, Peter. ''The History of the Jews In the Greco-Roman World''. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2003.


External links


Jewish Encyclopedia: Hasmoneans


* [http://www.aish.com/literacy/jewishhistory/Crash_Course_in_Jewish_History__Part_29_-_The_Revolt_of_the_Maccabees.asp The Reign of the Hasmoneans] – Crash Course in Jewish History
"Under the Influence: Hellenism in Ancient Jewish Life"
– Biblical Archaeology Society {{Dynasties of Ancient Israel Hasmonean dynasty, 140s BC establishments 1st-century BC disestablishments Former countries in the Middle East Former monarchies of Western Asia Maccabees History of Palestine (region) Jewish polities Jewish royalty Judea Political entities in the Land of Israel 2nd-century BCE Judaism 1st-century BCE Judaism States and territories established in the 2nd century BC States and territories disestablished in the 1st century BC