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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 ?
oppressor bent on eradicating Judaism; yet the Hasmonean rebellion
In contrast, Jewish identity, according to Cohen, was extended from ethnic to religious, cultural, and political criteria under Hasmonean rule.
The care to mingle a modicum of pure Water in the secularized catchment, in Hasmonean theological revision, re-invigorated the whole bath as "living," and capable then of purifying--objects and humans alike (and especially women supposedly rendered impure by menstrual flows and am ha'aretz laborers coming into work sites from supposedly impure villages) (Sawicki, 121-3, 140).
1990 The Hasmoneans and their Supporters: From Mattathias to the death of John Hycarnus I.
the majority opinion now appears to favor Buchler's view that there were [two] Sanhedrins: the Sanhedrin to which Josephus frequently refers was a political council with judicial functions, meeting under the presidency of the Hasmonean Priest-Kings and later of the High Priests; [the second one], the Great Sanhedrin of seventy or seventy-one members to which the Mishnah and the Talmud frequently refer was a separate council with primarily religious and legislative functions, though it had some rarely used judicial powers also, and unlike the other, survived the fall of the Temple in A.
Several Jewish sects emerged in Hasmonean times (140-37 BCE) including the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes.
Even at the time of the Hasmonean kingdom, most Jews lived outside Palestine.
After being subject to Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Macedonians, the Jews, backed by Rome, both won their independence and accepted the Hasmonean monarchy established by the Maccabees in the second century.
Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and UCL are world class, as are the academies of the Harris and Ark chains, faith schools like Cardinal Vaughan and Hasmonean and comprehensives like Perry Beeches and Arthur Terry in Birmingham.
Goff critiques Ben Sira on the Samaritans of Shechem, Hasmonean Judeans, and other Palestinian groups.
While 1 Maccabees can be understood as a defense of the Hasmonean dynasty, 2 Maccabees can be understood as a defense of the Temple in Jerusalem.
And at the oasis of Jericho, new wings of Herod''s winter palace were uncovered, as was a Hasmonean (Maccabean) winter palace containing a number of swimming pools and gardens, which is the major archaeological site that has survived from that period in Jewish history.