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, 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.
REFERENCESBickermann, 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.