Territorial Extent of of the Levite Irredentist Kingdom of the Maccabees
Important Stages of Growth & Decline
- From the Maccabee Revolt to expansion under Jonathan Apphus
- From Jonathan Apphus to expansion under Simon Matthess
- From Simon Matthes to expansion under John Hyrcanus I
- From John Hyrcanus I to expansion under Aristobulus I
- From Aristobulus I to expansion under Alexander Jannæus
- Stabilization under the rule of Queen Alexandra Shlomziyyon
Civil war and division under the contested reigns of John II Hyrcanus and
Judah II Aristobulus. The Romans enter here.
Forfeiture of the Kingdom to Herod the Great under the reign of
Mattathias II Antigonus
This is an entertaining book, but not your fathers biblical history. This book was written about 30 years ago, but this is not a serious impediment as the original histories on which this book is based are over 2000 years old and the most comprehensive modern history is about 100 years old.
Jewish and Christian histories paint the Maccabees as great heroes. Brodsky paints a more complex picture, showing their many faults and excesses. He explains their victories (and those of their subsequent Hasmonaean descendents) more in terms of the ineptitude of their adversaries than their skill. Furthermore, he lays much of the calamitous history of the Jewish people, from the time of the revolt of Maccabees to the fall of the second temple, at their doorstep; either as a direct result of the actions of the Hasmonaeans or as indirect consequences of these actions.
The 500 hundred-year story of the Middle East, from the return of the Jews from their Babylonian exile to the destruction of the second temple, is incredibly complex. Indeed, it is a thousand times more complex than the most complex soap opera ever written. This is a history not only of the Jews of Judea, but also of the Ptolemies and Seleucides (who inherited the empire of Alexander the Great), with additional inputs from the Nabateans, Parthians and finally the Romans. This is a story of intrigue, murder, incest and every other possible vice imaginable. It is the story the conflicts between the Hellenizers and the those who resisted the inroads of Greek culture. It is the story of the conflicts between the Sadducees (who represented Temple Judaism) and the Pharisees (who represented the Rabbinic tradition developed during the Babylonian exile). It is the story of an uncountable number of kings (many with the same names, distinguished only by roman numerals), and schemers of all sorts. You may not agree with Brodsky's thesis that the various dynastic and internal religious conflicts led to untold misery, and eventually to the destruction of the Jewish states that were created during this period, but you will enjoy his telling of the story.
Learn more about the tragic downfall of the fourth kingdom warriors, 239 years later, here.