The lands of the former Kingdom of Israel and Kingdom of Judah c. Between and BC, Jerusalem changed hands seven times. 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 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 henceforth was ruled. The books are considered part of the Biblical canon by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches and apocryphal by most Protestants, but are not a part of the Hebrew Bible. 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.
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The lands of the former Kingdom of Israel and Kingdom of Judah c. Between and BC, Jerusalem changed hands seven times. 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 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 henceforth was ruled. The books are considered part of the Biblical canon by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches and apocryphal by most Protestants, but are not a part of the Hebrew Bible.
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.
The books include historical and religious material from the Septuagint that was codified by Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians. The other primary source for the Hasmonean dynasty is the first book of The Wars of the Jews by the Jewish historian Josephus , 37— c. Notably, Josephus, a Roman citizen and former general in the Galilee, who survived the Roman—Jewish wars of the 1st century, was a Jew who was captured by and cooperated with the Romans, writing his books in Rome, which has caused some to question his impartiality and credibility as a historian.
Generally, the Jews accepted foreign rule when they were only required to pay tribute, and otherwise allowed to govern themselves internally. Nevertheless, Jews were divided between those favouring Hellenization and those opposing it, and were divided over allegiance to the Ptolemies or Seleucids. A period of political intrigue followed, with both Jason and Menelaus 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 , 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. Whether this step represents the culmination of a year process of Hellenization 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. Reverse shows Apollo seated on an omphalos.
The Hellenistic trends in Jewish society were, however, inadequate protection against Antiochus. According to Livy , "Popilius And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly.
Therefore there was a great mourning in Israel, in every place where they were. 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 of Zeus  on the 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.
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,  he may have been responding to a Jewish revolt that had drawn on the Temple and the Torah for its strength, or he may have been encouraged by a group of radical Hellenizers among the Jews.
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. Most modern scholars argue that the king was intervening in a civil war between traditionalist Jews in the countryside and Hellenized Jews in Jerusalem.
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. Bickermann saw the origin of the problem in the attempt of "Hellenized" 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 [Bickermann] may 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. Other Jews then reasoned that they must fight when attacked, even on the Sabbath.
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.
Demetrius sent the general Bacchides to Israel with a large army, in order to install Alcimus with the office of high priest. 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 Laisa , where this time it was the Hasmonean commander who was killed. Following the death of his puppet governor Alcimus , 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 , thought it well to retreat farther, and accordingly fortified in the desert a place called Beth-hogla;  there they were besieged several days by Bacchides. Jonathan offered the rival general a peace treaty and exchange of prisoners of war. Bacchides readily consented and even took an 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. From there he endeavoured to clear the land of "the godless and the apostate ". Seleucid civil conflict[ edit ] An important external event brought the design of the Maccabeans to fruition. 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 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.
The Hellenistic party could no longer attack him without severe consequences. Soon, Demetrius lost both his throne and his life, in BCE. 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 honor.
Balas appointed Jonathan as strategos and "meridarch" i. 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. Apollonius received reinforcements from Azotus and appeared in the plain in charge of 3, 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. Ptolemy himself, however, was among the casualties of the battle. Jonathan owed no allegiance to the new King and took this opportunity to lay siege to the 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. 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 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. 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, men of Jonathan protected Demetrius in his capital, Antioch , against his own subjects.
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. 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 Scythopolis for a friendly conference, where he persuaded him to dismiss his army of 40, men, promising to give him Ptolemais and other fortresses.
Jonathan fell into the trap; he took with him to Ptolemais 1, men, all of whom were slain; he himself was taken prisoner. 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.
Nothing is known of his two captive sons. One of his daughters was an ancestor of Josephus. The leadership of the Hasmoneans was established by a resolution, adopted in 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 faithful prophet " 1 Macc.
Ironically, the election was performed in Hellenistic fashion. John Hyrcanus I Yehohanan. Meshorer Group B, 11; Hendin He remained governor as a Seleucid vassal. For the next two decades of his reign, Hyrcanus continued, like his father, to rule semi-autonomously from the Seleucids. This provided opportunity for semi-independent Seleucid client states such as Judea to revolt.
By this means he came into possession of the throne and became the first Hasmonean to take the title basileus , asserting the new-found independence of the state. Subsequently he conquered Galilee. Aristobulus I died after a painful illness in BCE. 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 in the form of a bulldozer 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.
She was the only regnant Jewish Queen. Pharisee and Sadducee factions[ edit ].
Ancient Jewish History: The Hasmonean Dynasty
Who were the Hasmoneans? Question: "Who were the Hasmoneans? Upon his death his sons continued the rebellion and were eventually successful in gaining Jewish autonomy under the Seleucids and then, with the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire, full Jewish independence. Simon brother of Judah Maccabee and son of Mattathias was the first Hasmonean ruler of an autonomous state. The Hasmoneans are also called Asmoneans. According to Josephus , a priest named Chashman, from the family of Jehoiarib cf.