Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 04:12 pm
I'm interested in their tactics and how they defeated the Seleucids: plus what were they fighting for:
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Question • Score: 4 • Views: 1,730 • Replies: 14
No top replies

 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 06:12 pm
They were fighting for their independence. Judas Maccabeus fought a guerrilla campaign for two or three years, to wear down the enemy, and to encourage recruitment. His victories were small-scale, but then, so was the force which the Seleucids could afford to send against him. They had bigger fish to fry, in the threat from the Parthians, and the almost constant rebellions and civil war within the borders of their so-called empire. Their inability to provide stable government impaired their revenues, as the civil strife impaired their ability to collect revenues. Judas' great victory at Emmaus only involved a few thousand men on a side, and was possible because he used the superior knowledge of local terrain to avoid the main Seleucid force (largely cavalry which would have devastated Judas' ill-equipped and poorly trained infantry), and was able to launch a surprise attack on the Seleucid base camp. This forced Gorgias, commander of the larger force with the cavalry, to retreat to re-establish his logistical communications. Judas Maccabeus was therefore able to take Jerusalem, a highly symbolic act which drew a great deal of recruits and material support to his cause.

Basically, the Jews did not actually achieve independence. But the Seleucid, racked with internal conflict and facing a far more important and dangerous foe in the Parthians, compounded with Judas to produce a settelement acceptable to the Jews. They were allowed to govern themselves under their own laws, and to practice their religion while forbidding all others in the precincts of their own temple and places of worship, and the Temple in Jerusalem was restored and declared sacrosanct. In return, they were to provide levies for the Seleucid army, and pay their taxes. They weren't very faithful to the latter terms, but the Seleucid empire, such as it was, was already falling apart, and had more important worries than enforcing compliance on the Jews. The last failed attempts of the Seleucid usurper to force his rule on the Jews was faced with another guerrilla war by Judas Maccabeus, and the army soon marched away to deal with the next, inevitable civil war at home. The Seleucids would be history in less than a century, and Jewish independence was lost to the Romans at about the same time.
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 07:12 pm
So, it is more a case of the Seleucids being worn down and in a decaying empire, than genius on the Maccabees part: I could imagine having a cavalry army in either mountain or desert would present problems. How did they fare against the Romans?
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:21 pm
@Setanta,
Was this the story of Chanukkah, or am I getting my Maccabees confused?
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 09:50 pm
Same people: I don't know the Channukah story either
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Dec, 2008 08:58 am
@Foofie,
There were no "Maccabees." The people who followed Judas Maccabeus have been referred to by later historians as "Maccabees," but there was no such cultural, political or religious group in the second century BCE.

After Judas took Jerusalem, the Temple was ritually purified, and the lamps were lit again in the Temple. So yes, Chanukah, or the festival of lights, is a remembrance of the capture of Jerusalem by Judas Maccabeus.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Dec, 2008 12:35 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

There were no "Maccabees." The people who followed Judas Maccabeus have been referred to by later historians as "Maccabees," but there was no such cultural, political or religious group in the second century BCE.

After Judas took Jerusalem, the Temple was ritually purified, and the lamps were lit again in the Temple. So yes, Chanukah, or the festival of lights, is a remembrance of the capture of Jerusalem by Judas Maccabeus.


So having a Menorah near an office building lobby's Christmas tree is sort of incongruous, in my opinion. One holiday reflects Peace on Earth; the other holiday reflects a military victory. Only in America.

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Dec, 2008 01:25 pm
@Foofie,
Not only in America . . . the menorah is displayed by Jews world-wide. But your analysis lacked subtlety. In the first place, Judas was not obliged to fight for Jerusalem. The Seleucid army upon which he stole a march was lead by Gorgias, who had failed to overtake Judas' army with his cavalry. When Judas destroyed the smaller portion of the army, and took the base camp, Gorgias was obliged to retreat to the east because he now lacked logistical communications.

Therefore, Gorgias "uncovered" Jerusalem, allowing Judas to simply walk in. The celebration of Chanukah celebrates the act of purfying the Temple and relighting the votive lamps in the Temple, and not any military victory.

You can console yourself, Foofie, that the Festival of Lights has a purely pacific character.
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jan, 2009 10:39 am
@Foofie,
The Jewish religious texts end with the Prophets i.e. the Old Testament. The Maccabees are in the New Testament. In the New Testament the oil lamp miraculously stayed lit for eight days. I think Hannukah was meant to give Jewish children a festival to cling to during the Christmas Season. As there are so many light bulbs with Christmas it might as well be a Festival of Lights and thus the Festival of Light came to pass - Hannukah with the Menorah. It probably breaks the hearts of Jewish parents to see their children look at Christian kids with envy and sadness. This must have conveyed a message to the rabbis that there was a real risk of losing a good portion of the congregations when those kids grow up to embrace Christmas.
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jan, 2009 10:57 am
You can understand why the church took up the local festivals : I have a similar dilema because I celebrate Christmas on January the 6th telling kids they have to open their presents 12 days after everyone else.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jan, 2009 11:05 am
@Fountofwisdom,
Fountofwisdom wrote:

You can understand why the church took up the local festivals : I have a similar dilema because I celebrate Christmas on January the 6th telling kids they have to open their presents 12 days after everyone else.



Perhaps, a solution for everyone is not to refer to the season as the Holiday Season, but more to the point, the Gift Giving Season?
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jan, 2009 11:08 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Not only in America . . . the menorah is displayed by Jews world-wide. But your analysis lacked subtlety. In the first place, Judas was not obliged to fight for Jerusalem. The Seleucid army upon which he stole a march was lead by Gorgias, who had failed to overtake Judas' army with his cavalry. When Judas destroyed the smaller portion of the army, and took the base camp, Gorgias was obliged to retreat to the east because he now lacked logistical communications.

Therefore, Gorgias "uncovered" Jerusalem, allowing Judas to simply walk in. The celebration of Chanukah celebrates the act of purfying the Temple and relighting the votive lamps in the Temple, and not any military victory.

You can console yourself, Foofie, that the Festival of Lights has a purely pacific character.


I was content to think of it as a military victory. And, while Peace On Earth is the standard slogan for Christmas, I thought Jesus, the historical figure, was an anti-Roman zealot. The reason the Romans wanted him out of the way, I thought. In my opinion, some versions of Christianity cherry-picked which teachings of Jesus to emphasize.
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jan, 2009 11:25 am
@Foofie,
The ancestors of bankers were money changers. The money changers at the entrance of the Temple were like scalpers. I believe one of the low Roman coins did not have the image of Caesar on it thus it was suitable for religious purposes. However, the money changers charged many times above the value of this coin e.g. $20 dollars for the "kosher" dime. The priests probably took a cut from this as they were at the entrance of the Temple. Jesus upset the tables and had a whip. So it was a case of corruption. As you know the priests and the ever powerful "bankers" were really upset and this is probably was the feather that broke the camel's back. Jesus was hunted down and we have a new religion.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jan, 2009 04:01 pm
@talk72000,
Heh, no. Chanukah existed quite a while before Christmas became the giftfest it currently is. Current commercialization is certainly due to a desire for compensation/competition but no, the holiday does not come from a desire to emulate Christians. The commercialization of it might, but the actual holiday does not.
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jan, 2009 04:30 pm
@jespah,
Thanks for setting me straight on that as I am not religious.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, EVERYONE! - Discussion by OmSigDAVID
WIND AND WATER - Discussion by Setanta
Who ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall? - Discussion by Walter Hinteler
True version of Vlad Dracula, 15'th century - Discussion by gungasnake
ONE SMALL STEP . . . - Discussion by Setanta
History of Gun Control - Discussion by gungasnake
Where did our notion of a 'scholar' come from? - Discussion by TuringEquivalent
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Maccabees
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 07/02/2022 at 03:03:28