Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Revolt of the Maccabees
caption=The Hasmonean Kingdom
date=167 BCE-160 BCE
Land of Israel
casus=Antiochus' decrees forbidding Jewish religious practices
territory=Jews regained control over the Land of Israel
result=Establishment of the Hasmonean kingdom
Mattathias, Judah Maccabee, Jonathan Maccabeus
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
The Maccabees (Hebrew: מכבים or מקבים, "Makabim" or Maqabim; Greek Μακκαβαῖοι, /makav'εï/) were a
Jewish national liberation movement that fought for and won independence from Antiochus IV Epiphanesof the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty, who was succeeded by his infant son Antiochus V Eupator. The Maccabees founded the Hasmoneanroyal dynastyand established Jewish independence in the Land of Israelfor about one hundred years, from 164 BCE to 63 BCE.
In 167 BCE, after Antiochus issued decrees in
Judeaforbidding Jewish religious practice, a rural Jewish priestfrom Modiin, Mattathiasthe Hasmonean, sparked the revolt against the Seleucid empire by refusing to worship the Greek gods. Mattathias together with his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judea after he slew a Hellenistic Jewwho stepped forward to offer a sacrifice to an idol in Mattathias' place. After Mattathias' death about one year later, his son Judah Maccabeeled an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucid dynasty.
The revolt itself involved many individual battles, in which the Maccabean forces gained infamy among the Syrian army for their use of
guerrillatactics. After the victory, the Maccabees entered Jerusalemin triumph and ritually cleansed the Temple, reestablishing traditional Jewish worship there and installing Jonathan Maccabee as High Priest. A large Syrian army was sent to quash the revolt, but returned to Syria on the death of Antiochus IV. Its commander Lysias, preoccupied with internal Syrian affairs, agreed to a political compromise that provided religious freedom.
Following the re-dedication of the temple, the supporters of the Maccabees were divided over the question of whether to continue fighting. When the revolt began under the leadership of Mattathias, it was seen as a war for religious freedom to end the oppression of the Seleucids. However, as Maccabees realized how successful they had been many wanted to continue the revolt as a war of national self-determination. This conflict led to the exacerbation of the divide between the
Phariseesand Sadduceesunder later Hasmonean monarchs such as Alexander Jannaeus. ["From the Maccabees to the Mishnah" Second Edition. Cohen, Shaye J.D. Westminster John Knox Press, 2006.]
Those who sought the continuation of the war of national identity were led by Judah Maccabee. On his death in battle in 160 BCE, Judah was succeeded as army commander by his younger brother, Jonathan, who was already High Priest. Jonathan made treaties with various foreign states, causing further dissent among those who desired religious freedom over political power. On Jonathan's death in 142 BCE, Simon Maccabee, the last remaining son of Mattathias, took power. That same year, Demetrius II, king of Syria, granted the Jews complete political independence and Simon, great high priest and commander of the Jews, went on to found the
Hasmoneandynasty. Jewish autonomy lasted until 63 BCE, when the Roman general Pompeycaptured Jerusalem and subjected Judea to Roman rule, while the Hasmonean dynasty itself ended in 37 BCE when the Idumean Herod the Greatbecame de-facto king of Jerusalem.
Every year Jews celebrate
Hanukkahin commemoration of Judah Maccabee's victory over the Seleucids and subsequent miracles.
Mention in Deuterocanon
The story of the Maccabees can be found in the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles in the deuterocanonical books of
1 Maccabeesand 2 Maccabees. The books of 3 Maccabeesand 4 Maccabeesare not directly related to the Maccabees.
Origin of name
The name Maccabee [Latin: "Maccabaeus", Greek: "Makkabaios", from Hebrew "maqqeb et", hammer ("Oxford English Dictionary").] is sometimes seen used as synonym for the entire Hasmonean Dynasty, but the Maccabees proper were Judah Maccabee and his four brothers. The name Maccabee was a personal epithet of Judah, and the later generations were not his descendants. Although there is no definitive explanation of what the term means, one suggestion is that the name derives from the Aramaic maqqaba, "the hammer", in recognition of his ferocity in battle. [CathEncy|wstitle=The Machabees] It is also possible that the name Maccabee is an
acronymfor the Torahverse "Mi chamocha ba'elim YHWH", "Who is like unto thee among the mighty, O Lord!" [ Exodus15:11]
Holy Maccabean Martyrs
name=The Holy Maccabees
death_date=167 BC-160 BC
Roman Catholic Church Eastern Orthodox Churches
Wojciech Stattler's "Machabeusze" ("The Maccabees"), 1844
Although they were said not to be of the family of the Maccabees, seven Jewish brothers and their mother, described as martyred for their faith in 2 and 4 Maccabees, have been known in Christianity as the "Holy Maccabean Martyrs" or "Holy Maccabees", from the title of the book where their martydom is described: bibleverse|2|Maccabees|7.
Eastern Orthodox Churchcelebrates the "Holy Maccabean Martyrs" on August 1, the first day of the Dormition Fast.
Roman Catholic Churchincludes them in its official list of saints, assigning them 1 Augustas their feast day. From the time of the Tridentine Calendaruntil 1960, they were mentioned through a commemoration within the feast of St. Peter ad Vincula. When, among other second feasts of a single saint, Pope John XXIIIsuppressed this feast of Saint Peter, the Maccabees continued to be only commemorated, but this time within the Mass of the feria. Some continue to use this calendar of John XXIII, or indeed an older one, but the General Roman Calendar officially in force since 1969 has omitted this commemoration. ["Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vatican, 1969), p. 132] The Holy Maccabees are still recognized as saints and martyrs. ["Martyrologium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)] and as such may be venerated by all Catholics everywhere on their feast and at other times.
Maccabees in Culture
The Yeshiva University Athletic teams are nicknamed the "Maccabees". [ [http://www.yu.edu/athletics/ Yeshiva University: Athletics Department ] ]
French language, the word "macchabée", sometimes shortened as "macchab" or "macab", is a slang term for a dead body. [fr" Petit Robert1", 2nd edition, 1978]
My Glorious Brothers", novel by Howard Fast
* [http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=17&letter=M&search=Maccabees Jewish Encyclopedia: Maccabees, The]
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08344a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: Jerusalem (Before A.D. 71)]
* [http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Maccabees 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica: Maccabees]
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