Page 0936

936

UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

during his invasion of Egypt, Antiochus, in B. C. 169, attacked Jerusalem,

leveled the walls, garrisoned the city with his soldiers, proclaimed the

worship of the Olympian Jupiter to be the religion of the state, set up

shrines for the pagan deities, and sacrificed a sow on the altar of

Jehovah! Thousands of the people were butchered and other thousands sold

into slavery.

Soon afterwards, when Antiochus had gone on an expedition against the

Parthians, leaving the completion of the work in Palestine to his general,

Apollonius, a revolt broke out headed by the high-priest Mattathias and his

five sons, of the House of the Asmoneans.

The rebellion gathered head. The insurgents retired into the wilderness,

whence they sallied forth and broke down the altars of paganism. The army

of Mattathias waxed in strength until it became formidable. When the aged

leader died, the command fell upon his son Judas, who greatly distinguished

himself as a general. He obtained the surname of the Hammer, or in Hebrew

Makkab. From this cognomen-though the derivation is somewhat disputed-came

the name Maccabees, which was given to the insurgent leaders and also to

the apocryphal book in which their deeds are recorded. Time and again the

forces of Apollonius and other Syrian generals were defeated by the

obstinate Jews. At last, however, Bacchides brought a large army into

Judea, and Judas being defeated slew himself rather than be taken. Eleazer,

his colleague, had already been crushed to death under an elephant in a

previous battle. Thus, in B. C. 160, the organized rebellion was

suppressed; but the remnant of the Maccabees' forces fled to the hills and

for many years carried on a desultory warfare against their oppressors.

By and by, when Demetrius Soter was contending with rival claimants for the

throne of Syria, Jonathan, one of the surviving Maccabees found opportunity

to restore the fortunes of the war, and made such headway that he was

recognized as high priest of Jerusalem; but he was presently assassinated

by Tryphon, one of the Syrian pretenders. Afterwards Simon made an alliance

with Rome, and became, for a short time, an independent prince.

At the close of the second century B. C. John Hyrcanus and his sons

Aristobulus and Alexander, maintained the reputation of their house and the

dignity of the priestly office. Nearly all of the Maccabees were brave and

virtuous warriors, who fought and died for the freedom of a country whose

internal dissensions and feuds rendered her unworthy of such heroic

service. In the latter days of the house, however, the younger Aristobutus

engaged in a disgraceful contest with a second Hyrcanus for the priestly

throne. The dispute resulted in calling in Scaurus, the lieutenant of

Pompeius the Great, to settle the controversy. In B.C. 63, he decided in

favor of Aristobulus, but the decision was afterwards reversed by Pompeius,

who, in order to suppress the rival claimant, took Jerusalem by storm, amid

the wildest scenes of carnage. Hyrcanus then became high-priest, and

Palestine was made tributary to Rome as the price of his recognition.

As a province of the Roman Empire, Judea was assigned by Julius Caesar to

Antipater, who had been the minister of Hyrcanus. His title was procurator.

Aristobulus, who had been imprisoned at Rome, made his escape and

endeavored to recover his kingdom, but he and his sons perished in the

foolish revolt which they had incited. When in B.C. 53 Crassus was

overthrown by the Parthians, Antigonus conquered and captured Hyrcanus; but

his success had no abiding root. For in the mean time Herod, son of

Antipater, being in Rome, had obtained the favor of the First Triumvirate,

and now returned to Palestine backed by the support of that powerful

combination. He succeeded in establishing a new dynasty, known as the

Idumaean, and obtained for himself-though for what reason has never

sufficiently appeared-the title of Great. His inordinate vanity, his

cruelty, his uncurbed passions, and his base servitude to Rome, constituted

his entire claim to the epithet with which he has been honored. He proved

to be an unscrupulous sycophant and bloody assassin of his betters.

After the death of Herod his dominions were divided among his three sons:

Archelatts, Philip, and Herod Aatipas. An era of anarchy followed, the

tetrarchies of Idumaea, Trachonitis, and Galilee being engaged in