Historical Overview Section
The Hasmonean Kingdom came into being after a successful revolt by Jews against the Later Seleucid Antiochus IV in the period when the Successors were struggling to deal with various rebvellions and external attacks from the Parthians and late Republican Romans. After Antiochus' successful invasion of Later Ptolemaic Egypt was turned back by the intervention of the Late Republican Romans he moved instead to assert strict control over Israel, sacking Jerusalem and its Temple and imposing Hellenistic practices. The ensuing Maccabbee Revolt (167 BCE) began a twenty-five-year period of Jewish independence potentiated by the timely collapse of the Seleucid Empire, which was eliminated by the rising regional power of the Roman Republic. The deaths of Pompey (48 BCE), Caesar (44 BCE), and the related Roman civil wars relaxed Rome's grip on Israel, allowing a brief Hasmonean resurgence backed by the Parthian Empire.
Mattathias the Hasmonean sparked the initial revolt against the Later Seleucid Empire by refusing to worship Greek gods. Mattathias slew a Hellenistic Jew who stepped forward to offer a sacrifice to an idol in Mattathias' place. He and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judea. After Mattathias' death about one year later, his son Judah Maccabee led an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucid dynasty. The term Maccabees as used to describe the Judean's army is taken from its actual use as Judah's surname.
The revolt itself involved many individual battles, in which the Maccabean forces gained infamy among the Syrian army for their use of guerrilla tactics. After the victory, the Maccabees entered Jerusalem in 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 Pharisees and Sadducees under later Hasmonean monarchs such as Alexander Jannaeus.
Judah Maccabee led those who sought the continuation of the war of national identity. On his death in battle in 160 BC, his younger brother, Jonathan, who was already High Priest, succeeded Judah as army commander. 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 BC, 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 Hasmonean dynasty. Jewish autonomy lasted until 63 BC, when the Late Republican Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem and subjected Judea to Roman rule, while the Hasmonean dynasty itself ended in 37 BC when the Idumean Herod the Great became de facto king of Jerusalem.
Using the army in ADLG
- Bow-armed cavalry are - outside of the Sassanids - reasonably rare in this period so might surprise a few people.
- You're looking at running a quasi-Gallic warband army here, with enough shooty MCv to contest an open flank and enough non-Impetuous Javelinmen to contest the terrain and hold that as well. But its still a tad scary with everything weighting in at 7+ points, making it tricky to get the width necessary to overwhelm a probably stodgier and tougher enemy on a narrow frontage.
- A wall of pikes and spears is not all that bad, and with plenty of Javelinmen as well as the Cavalry probably sits a little better.
- Mediocre Pike are generally considered good value, so 6 is a nice number to be deploying. They do however need a screen of skirmishers, which this army fortunately has in some numbers.
- This is now starting to turn into quite an interesting jack-of-all-trades army, possibly quite good for a 2-list competition.
- As well as the obvious "romano-Greek core" list, you can make a 14+ Cavalry overwhelming force with a mix of skirmishers, fighters and shooters supported by LH as well
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Sample army lists for this army
103 Judean Chuckleheads
2 XYSTOPHOROI Heavy cavalry impact Elite
5 IMITATION LEGIONARIES Heavy swordsmen impact
2 THRACIANS Medium swordsmen 2HW
2 SKIRMISHERS Light infantry sling
1 THRACIAN JAVELINMEN Javelinmen
2 SKIRMISHER JAVELINS Light infantry javelin
2 SKIRMISHER BOW Light infantry bow
Parthian Ally Competent
2 CATAPHRACT Cataphract Elite
2 CATAPHRACT Cataphract
4 LIGHT HORSE BOW Light cavalry bow