Revolt of Maccabees
By Kyle Segalla and Patrick Didier
The Story of the Maccabean Revolt
Hanukkah, a festival celebrated by Jews, actually celebrates the Maccabean Revolt. In the late 6th century BCE, Cyrus the Great, emperor of the Persians, freed the Jews after they had been exiled in Babylon for decades. Antiochus, emperor of Seleucid, led an army to Egypt where a civil war erupted among Jews which led a revolt against Menelaus, the high priest. Judas Maccabeus declared warfare against the Jews that were hellenized by Menelaus. When Antiochus died, Lysias took over the Seleucid Empire and was determined to destroy Jerusalem and end the Maccabean revolt once and for all. However, one of the generals revolted and attached Lysias until they reached a settlement that restored Jerusalem. When Lysias left, civil fights broke up because some Jews still wanted to be rebels. When Demetrius I Soter took over the Seleucid throne after killing Lysias, he led an army that defeated the Jews. With the help of God, Jonathan Apphus inherited the position of High Priest, where he then established the Hasmonean Dynasty that ruled an independant Judea for the Jews.