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Rome and Judea in Transition

Hasmonean Relations with the Roman Republic and the Evolution of the High Priesthood


Chris Seeman

Rome and Judea in Transition is the first English-language book to study exclusively the first century and a half of Roman-Judean political relations (164–37 B.C.). It presents a comprehensive reassessment of the Late Republic's involvement in the Levant, the motives of Hasmonean diplomacy, and the development of the Jewish high priesthood. Therefore, it is of interest to classicists, ancient historians, biblical scholars, and students of Judaica alike.
Previous studies have often mischaracterized this period as a consistent unfolding of Rome’s hegemonic will at Jewish expense. By contrast, this book argues that the Republic harbored no imperial designs on Judea prior to Pompey’s opportunistic intervention in 63 B.C., and that Rome’s subsequent intermittent meddling in the region’s governance did not significantly alter the dynamics of the Hasmonean state. Only with the Parthian invasion of Syria in 40 B.C. – and because of it – did the Republic unilaterally reshape Judean politics by its elevation of Herod the Great as «King of the Jews.»
Judea’s alliance with Rome began in the context of Judas Maccabeus’ revolt against Seleucid rule. Scholars have therefore understandably assumed that the primary hope of Judas’ successors was that Roman recognition would secure and extend Judean sovereignty. This book argues that the main motive for Hasmonean diplomacy was domestic: to advertise the legitimacy of the Maccabees against their Jewish rivals. For this reason, the documentary record of relations with the Republic is of great value for studying the ideology and institutional growth of high priestly power during this period.


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Index of Persons


A Absalom, 97–101 Aeneas, 194, 379 Alcimus high priesthood, 106, 111, 133 opposition to, 107–113, 117, 124, 126, 132, 136 and Judas, 109, 111 death, 138 Alexander the Great, 14–19, 55–58 Alexander I Balas, 139–141 Alexander II Zabinas, 177–179 Alexander Jannaeus accession, 218, 220 and Ninth Syrian War, 220–221 expansion under, 223 opposition to, 223–224, 226– 228 and Nabateans, 224–226 and Rome, 227–230, 241–243 and 1 Maccabees, 238 Alexander (son of Aristobulus II) first revolt, 276–280, 282–283 second revolt, 285–288, 293– 297 and Cassius, 293–294 death, 299–300 Alexander (son of Dorotheus), 189, 192, 379 Alexander (son of Jason), 189, 192, 379 Alexander (son of Theodorus), 344, 345, 346, 355, 379, 380 Antigonus I, 218–219 Antigonus II captivity, 284–285, 295, 300– 301 and Caesar, 307–309, 323, 325, 327–328, 332, 341 and Hyrcanus II, 353–354 and Parthians, 360–361, 368 death, 342, 362–364, 370–371, 373–374 Antigonus Monophthalmus, 16–19, 24, 59, 367 Antiochus III and Fourth Syrian War, 21–22 and Fifth Syrian War, 22–24 and Judea, 65, 67–69, 73, 92 and Rome, 29–34 Antiochus IV Epiphanes accession, 36–37 and Rome, 38–39 and high priesthood, 75–79 and Sixth Syrian War, 39–47 and Jerusalem, 79–85 and Day of Eleusis, 47–49 persecution, 89–93 and Daphne festival, 50–51 and the Judean revolt, 95–102 death, 51–52 Antiochus V Eupator...

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