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see MaccabeesMaccabees
or Machabees
, Jewish family of the 2d and 1st cent. B.C. that brought about a restoration of Jewish political and religious life. They are also called Hasmoneans or Asmoneans after their ancestor, Hashmon.
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(also Maccabees), a priestly family; leaders and rulers of Judea (167–37 B.C.)

In 167 the Hasmoneans led a national liberation struggle against the burdensome taxes and the political and religious oppression of the Seleucids. After Mattathias, the founder of the family, died in 166, the armed struggle was led in turn by his sons Judas Maccabeus, Jonathan, and Simon. Under the leadership of Judas, religious persecution was ended, and religious autonomy was restored in 162. After Judas’ death in 161, Judea was granted a major reduction in taxes during the rule of Jonathan, who became high priest in 152. Under Simon, who was high priest from 142 to 134, Judea achieved complete political independence in 142. In 140 the national assembly named Simon hereditary high priest, ethnarch, and military commander.

Subsequent Hasmoneans, supported by the Sadducees, waged wars of conquest; under their rule Judea came to resemble a Hellenistic monarchy, and Aristobulus I (104–103) took the title of king. In the early first century, during the reign of Alexander Jan-naeus (103–76), Judea’s boundaries reached their greatest extent. The enormous burdens placed on the shoulders of the people led to mass uprisings between 90 and 84 instigated by the Pharisees; the rebellions were cruelly suppressed by Jannaeus. Jannaeus’ widow, Queen Salome Alexandra (76–67), made peace with the Pharisees and brought them into the government. Her death was followed by a civil war that ended with the intervention of Rome and the conquest of Judea in 63 by Pompey. The last Hasmone-an, Antigonus (40–37), was deposed and executed by Herod the Great, who established his own dynasty under Roman protection.


Bickermann, E. Der Gott der Makkabäer: Untersuchungen über Sinn und Ursprung der makkabäischen Ergebung. Berlin, 1937.
Bickermann, E. From Ezra to the Last of the Maccabees. New York, 1962.
Stern, M. The Documents of the History of the Hasmonaean Revolt. Tel Aviv, 1965.
References in periodicals archive ?
copy of this text (4Q524), as well as other plausible fragments (4Q365a; 11Q21), that suggest that some of the features in the Temple Scroll predate the historical developments of the Hasmonean period discussed in Paganini's study.
The phenomenon of villages and farms being abandoned at the end of the Hasmonean dynasty or the beginning of Herod the Great's succeeding rule is one that we are familiar with from many rural sites in Judea.
VanderKam argues the pro and con of possible candidates for the Wicked Priest in Pesher Habakkuk and Pesher Psalms and concludes that the extant evidence points to the Hasmonean high priest Jonathan.
The IAA found that after the Hasmoneans conquered Gaza in 99 BCE, King Alexander Jannaeus - the great-grandson of Hasmonean leader Matityahu - built a fortress that was used to halt the Nabateans along the Incense Road.
Although people of the Jewish faith had major presence in Jerusalem during the centuries of Biblical Jerusalem, which included rule by King Hezekiah and control by the Hasmonean dynasties, their control and presence were interrupted for two millennia.
The Land of Israel as a Political Concept in Hasmonean Literature.
A millennium later, the Maccabee brothers start with unity and liberation of their people, but their Hasmonean successors descended into fraternal strife.
But only much later in history, when the independent Hasmonean kingdom fell to the power of Rome in the 1st century BCE, did messianic activism begin to flourish.
Whether or not it reflects the troubles of Hasmonean times is uncertain.
The best examples were the pre-1948 days when Zionist terror groups attacked both Palestinian and British targets; or in the 2nd century BC when the Jewish priest Mattathias and his five sons successfully led the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid-Hellenist rulers of the region, using guerrilla tactics that would be called terrorism today (the victory which founded the Hasmonean dynasty is celebrated annually by Jews around the world in the Hanukkah festival).
Succeeding overlords, Ptolemaic and Seleucid, as well as the Hasmonean rulers, had minted their own coins, in part for personal propaganda reasons but also to facilitate intra- as well as inter-regional exchange .
The opening of the Hasmonean tunnel in the Old City of Jerusalem and the development of new Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem were viewed as Israeli attempts to destroy the Haram al-Sharif and to delegitimize Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem and the Old City.