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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.
- Lots of HF protected spearmen is not all that interesting - the all-MF option makes this army more unusual, and potentially gives you a force which can dominate almost anything in-period in RGo.
- Oddly enough, the vast quantities of LF with Bw and Sling may also be a foundation of this army, allowing you to have a huge and hard-to-catch army of shooters.
- Of the two options between Phalanx and Imitation Legionaries, both have their drawbacks. 24 is not quite enough pikemen to be interesting, and protected legionaries are also missing a magic ingredient of decent armour. Both will also slow down the main (presumably MF) force. The deciding factor may then be that the other optional troops allowed post 63AD (0-8 LH and 0-8 Thracians) are better than not having them.
- Post 40AD you can squeeze in an unlikely (and potentially dominant in period) 18 LH by also taking the 6 Arabs.
- Unprotected bow are cheap and capable of supporting your line of battle foot quite cheaply. The Hillmen as unprotected are even cheaper.
- If selected, the 4 lancers can be kept in reserve as a fire-brigade, as if committed too early they will probably end up being overwhelmed.
- With almost no armoured troops either an IC or a big skirmish screen might be needed to protect you from the effects of enemy shooting. But the MF foot spearem are fast enough to scare LF away as well, if used aggressively.
- Don't make the mistake of thinking that Bw/JLS LH are materially better than Bw/Sw LH - they are only better at impact, but are worse in every subsequent round of melee. Using them in 6's may also be required to overpower Bw/Sw LH.
- The troops are all drilled, so even though 6's take more pain from shooting, they are more maneuverable so may be the option of choice, allowing you to hit enemy flanks and outmanoeuvre them with speed and drill.
- Roman, Principate : Date restrictions From 25 BC Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 6 - 4 legions, 4 auxilia, 4 cavalry as a minimum make this expensive but tough - and all 3 are useful. Make the legions as good as you can afford if you are taking them, and donâ€™t be distracted with the other optional troops.
- Roman, Later Republican : Date restrictions 63 BC to 25 BC Book: Rise of Rome Page: 10 - Adding in a core of Legionaries toughens this lot up a lot
- Parthian : Date restrictions 40 BC to 38 BC Book: Rise of Rome Page: 56 - Up to 8 cataphracts and 24 LH is a good addition
- Nabataean : Date restrictions 66 BC to 64 BC Book: Rise of Rome Page: 64 - 4 Drilled armoured Superior lancers is unusual, with LH & LF to help out.
User-contributed links about this army:
- Maccabean Jewish Painting and history from Fanaticus
- The Maccabees background on the rebellion
- Luke Ueda Sarsons article as printed in Slingshot
- Fanaticus painted army from, or course, Fanaticus
Other Hellenistic ranges will be able to provide figures for this army, however these are the only known suppliers of bespoke figures. You can see some of the other figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site.
my 15mm Suppliers directory
- Essex Miniatures - Maccabean range. These are the figures in the FoG army list, but they do look rather like Essex' standard Greek Peltasts, but with longer spears.
- Donnington - Maccabean range
- Old Glory Maccabeans in their Successor States ranges
- Irregular Miniatures 3 Maccabeans in their Hellenistic ranges
- Minifigs Jewish range
10 / 17 Later Jewish Warfare 2008 25mm (RoR, LT, IF)
22 / 41 Later Jewish BHGS Challenge 2008 (open)
Sample army lists for this army
800 AP army in 48BC
- 1 Bowmen LF unprotected Average undrilled bow - - - 6
- 2 Bowmen LF unprotected Average undrilled bow - - - 6
- 3 Slingers LF unprotected Average undrilled Sling - - - 6
- 4 Slingers LF unprotected Average undrilled Sling - - - 6
- 5 Arab LH LH unprotected Average Undrilled javelins light spear - - 6
- 6 Thracian LH LH unprotected Average Undrilled javelins light spear - - 4
- 7 Thracian LH LH unprotected Average Undrilled javelins light spear - - 4
- 8 Javelinmen LF unprotected Average Undrilled javelins light spear - - 6
- 9 Levy Foot (for support) MF unprotected Average Undrilled - light spear - - 6
- 10 Foot of the Phalanx MF Protected Average Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 6
- 11 Foot of the Phalanx MF Protected Average Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 6
- 12 Foot of the Phalanx MF Protected Average Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 6
- 13 Foot of the Phalanx MF Protected Average Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 6
- 14 Foot of the Phalanx MF Protected Average Drilled - Offensive spearmen Spearmen - 6
- 15 Thracians MF Protected Average Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 6
- 16 Xystophoroi Cv armoured superior Drilled - lancers Swordsmen - 4
- CinC IC - - - - - - CinC 1
- TC TC - - - - - - - 3
Lots of Rough Terrain force, plus and IC and 12 LH to hopefully deliver terrain selection.
Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list