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Hey, everybody, it's A.J. McLean from the Backstreet Boys with my girl, Cheryl Burke and my boy Rene Elizondo on Ihara Radio's pretty messed up. His show talks about love, life, drugs, sex, rock n roll, you name it, and a little bit of dancing as well. I have never been this vulnerable and open, especially on Dancing with the Stars. You guys see an edited version of me. We get pretty deep and we just talk about everything.


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It's pretty easy these days to feel disconnected, we're pulled in so many different directions and that can leave us feeling incredibly fragmented, but together we can grow more connected to ourselves and to each other. And that is what my new podcast is all about, coming home to our wholeness. Listen and follow. Holy Human with me. LeAnn Rimes on the I Heart radio at the Apple podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts. Happy Saturday, since this Saturday Classic is coming out during Hanukkah, we thought we would rerelease our December 21st, 2016 episode on the Maccabean Revolt, which is the historical event associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.


While Hanukkah isn't one of the primary Jewish holidays, from a religious perspective, it has become culturally important in a lot of Jewish communities and families around the world. So if you are observing Hanukkah this week, happy Hanukkah from us to you. Our thoughts are especially with you if you are having to do so at a distance from the people that you love and miss.


Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm Tracy Wilson. And I'm Holly Fernleigh. So we've had a lot of requests over the years to talk about the Maccabean Revolt.


We've also had a lot of good intentions over the last few years to talk about it. It's the historical event that's connected to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. And two things have thwarted. Our plans to talk about this repeatedly in the first is since Hanukkah falls on the Jewish calendar, which doesn't sync up with the Gregorian calendar. I kept being surprised by the fact that Hanukkah was imminent every year or or had started. That's always minor. Oh, it's Hanukkah already.


Yeah, I didn't know. And also because this historical event is in a piece of ancient history that doesn't get as much coverage and a lot of classrooms. When I would be surprised by the imminent arrival of Hanukkah, I would also realize I just did not have enough foundational knowledge to be able to put an episode together in that period of time, because that's this is after Alexander the Great and before Rome. So it's in the it's in the Hellenistic period.


So that is just one of the places that I have not had a whole whole bunch of history, education, my ancient history education kind of went Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, classical Greece, Rome, and skipped the Hellenistic period almost entirely.


This year. However, I had my act together ahead of time. Yeah.


Tracy, so we finally have our episode on the Maccabean Revolt. I will say that every Hanukkah observance I have ever been to you is just full of warmth and love and comfort and light. And it all feels very beautiful and friendly, and this history is not really that, so if you're coming into this episode expecting like a story of warmth and love and triumph, this is not really going to be that. And then also having heard multiple experts pronounce a lot of the names in this episode completely differently from one another, I'm just going to have a blanket apology in advance.


I'm sorry if we land on the one that's either not how you say it or is just not right. I really did have just contradictory responses and how to say a lot of these words and names.


Alexander, the third of Macedon, also known as Alexander the Great, famously built a massive empire through a series of conquests, including conquering the Persian Empire in the 4th century BCE and at its height, this empire included a huge swath of territory around the Mediterranean, energy and seas. And then it stretched west across what's now Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Greek culture also spread through and influenced Alexander's territory to varying degrees.


Even before Alexander's death in early June of 323 BCE, this massive empire was starting to fracture, and after he died, his generals divided it up among themselves. The two most relevant to what we're talking about today, both controlled territory along the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. These were this elusive empire named for the loosest Nikita to the north and the Ptolemaic kingdom named for Ptolemy first Soter to the south.


At first, the solution empire controlled what is now Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. And from there, this territory stretched east to Central Asia in the Ptolemaic kingdom, primarily controlled what's now northern Egypt, including the city of Alexandria. Even though the Ptolemaic kingdom was initially much smaller, it was also one of the most prosperous and influential of all of the Hellenistic kingdoms, with Alexandria becoming one of the most important cities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these two neighbors spent a lot of time at war with each other over territory, including who would control Syria and the Levant in the eastern Mediterranean.


Its ongoing struggle played out in spite of a number of diplomatic and family connections that existed between the Ptolemy's in this Lucien's and the fact that both Ptolemy and solipsist themselves had teamed up together against rival and antagonists, the first just after Alexander's death.


During many of these wars, Judea, which is the area between the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Dead Sea on the other, was caught in the crossfire and it was passed back and forth between the Ptolemy's and the solutions as the territory changed hands. The city of Jerusalem, which is importance of multiple religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is also located in Judea, although at the time we're discussing today, Christianity and Islam both had not yet been founded.


Jerusalem had been home to Solomon's temple, also known as the first temple, which was destroyed in 587 BCE And at the time that this story takes place, it was home to the second temple built in roughly 520 BCE.


These temples are of enormous religious, spiritual and social importance in Judaism.


During the fifth Syrian war, which spanned from 202 to 195 BCE, the saluted soundly defeated the Ptolemy's at the Battle of Panis, or Benyus, also known as the Battle of Payneham. And the details of the battle itself are mostly lost to time. But we do know that following this defeat, the Ptolemy's lost most of their territory in the Levant, including Judea. At first, the region's Jewish population continued to live mostly as they had been many of the Ptolemaic leaders who had controlled Judea had been relatively tolerant of religious diversity.


There was definitely a social hierarchy at play, with the Greeks having higher social and economic status than everyone else. But for the most part, throughout the Ptolemaic kingdom, people were allowed religious freedom and expression.


For example, under Ptolemaic rule, native Egyptian religious traditions continued to be upheld and newly built Greek temples and other religious sites often drew inspiration from Egyptian deities. The city of Alexandria in the Ptolemaic kingdom also had a sizable Jewish population, and it was in Alexandria that the Torah was translated into Greek for the first time. The degree to which Jews in Alexandria and elsewhere in Ptolemaic territory spoke Greek and adopted Greek customs really, really varied from community to community and person to person.


There were, of course, a lot of different schools of thought about how much assimilation with Greek culture was acceptable. Some Jewish religious religious leaders advocated for a total rejection of all things Greek, while others thought that some degree of assimilation was fine as long as certain Jewish laws and customs were still upheld later on. Jewish religious texts written during this period would be viewed with some suspicion because of this Greek influence. So that was before the 5th Syrian war and the battle of Penas.


After Judea became part of the solution empire. At first things stayed more or less the same solution rule continued to allow free observance of the Jewish religion. Antiochus, the third, also known as Antiochus the Great, then ruler of the solution empire, helped rebuild parts of Jerusalem that had been damaged or destroyed in the war. He suspended taxes in Jerusalem for three years and banned the import of animals that were unfit for consumption under Jewish law into Jerusalem. He also allowed the Jewish population of Jerusalem to govern itself according to Jewish law.


However, all that changed radically after the death of entire because the third he was succeeded by his son solutions. The fourth he was then assassinated by one of his ministers who try to take the throne for himself. Antiochus, the fourth epiphanies, another of Antiochus, the third sons, managed to take control of this illicit empire in 175 BCE and his ideas on religious freedom were completely different then. And Tyack, as the third's had been completely different than the Ptolemy's had been.


Basically, it was a huge shift from what had been going on in Judea over the hundreds of years and many not hundreds, but over the many decades and wars that had seen it passed back and forth between different ruling empires. Over time, we are going to talk about exactly how after a quick word from a sponsor.


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All the people in his empire should be one people and their culture should be Greek. Monotheistic religions, including Judaism, were expected to abandon their own customs and practices and instead begin worshipping the Greek pantheon of gods.


The high priest at the Jewish temple had been resisting Greek influence, so Antiochus replaced him with his brother. That's the priest brother, not Antiochus brother with his brother Jason. Jason had Hellenized his own name from Hebrew, and he built a Greek style gymnasium adjacent to the temple. A gymnasium in Greece was a gathering place and a training facility for athletes, and it was also an emblem of Greek culture. And men who used the gymnasium did so naked. This is a problem because nudity, especially public nudity, was against Jewish law.


So building this gymnasium near the temple was not only a reminder of Greek supremacy, but also something that was abhorrent in the eyes of many of the people who were going to the temple for both social and religious reasons. Jason was later replaced by Menelaus, also a Helen Icer who continued to promote Greek ideas and customs among the Jewish population. In 168 BCE, Antiochus was away fighting the six Syrian war in Egypt, and rumors started to spread that he had been killed.


This prompted some of Jerusalem's more traditional Jewish population to rebel against him and Alawites who fled the city. When Antiochus returned to Jerusalem and learned what had happened, he was outraged and ordered his army to attack the Jewish population. Thousands were killed or enslaved, and TICAS then issued a decree outlawing Judaism.


He specifically forbade Jewish religious observances and customs. He outlawed Jewish modes of worship and observances of the Sabbath and Jewish festivals. He also outlawed the practice of circumcision. The decree also required Jews to sacrifice pigs to Greek idols, and the second temple was rededicated to the Greek god. Zoo's failure to obey all of this was punishable by death, and many Jews, possibly thousands of them, were martyred as a result.


Although this decree stood in direct opposition to Jewish law, a portion of the Jewish community did follow it. Many, but not all, certainly did so under extreme duress. But people who had not considered Helen ization to be bad or threatening often followed the law willingly.


This meant that soon the most traditionalist parts of the Jewish population were at odds, both with the solutions and with Hellenistic Jews who willingly followed the law.


And Titus's decree was not just directed at the city of Jerusalem. It also applied to all of the territory. And he sent armed officers from town to town to enforce it. This included this included demanding that priests publicly make sacrifices to Greek idols or consume pork under penalty of death if they refused. During this time, a Jewish priestly family led by patriarch met at Yahoo! Or Matteus or Matthias, depending on how you pronounce it, was living in Modiin, west of Jerusalem, when entire KISS's men came to Modiin to demand sacrifices to Greek gods.


Matteus refused as recorded in First Maccabees, he said, even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him and have chosen to do his commandments, departing each one from the religion of his father's. Yet I and my sons and my brothers will live by the covenant of our fathers. We will not obey the King's word by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left.


Then, when and when a Hellenistic Jew approached this Greek altar to make a sacrifice as ordered, Matthias grabbed an officer officer's sword and killed him before then killing the officer. And then he rallied the people who had witnessed this to join him in a rebellion against the illicit empire.


Although some of the traditionalist Jews in this illusive empire had already been resisting Antiochus decree nonviolently, Matthias and his five sons started a campaign of guerilla warfare. They recruited others and base their operations in hills and caves, eating plants they could scavenge to avoid the need to eat food that wasn't kosher. This revolt was the first war for religious freedom in the West and possibly in the world.


Mathias was already quite old when this resistance started, and he passed away not long after his third son, Judah Maccabee, or Judah the Hammer, became the leader of this resistance. And estimate's really very about the size of the fighting force that he recruited. It was somewhere between 6000 to 12000 people. But that's still really paled in comparison to the solution force of 40000. Even so, thanks to their superior knowledge of the hills and caves around Judea and the fact that the solutions originally underestimated what they were up against, they were able to successfully resist and ultimately defeat the Greek force.


It wasn't only the Greek force that the Maccabee Army was fighting, though. They were also fighting back against the people they saw as godless or Jews who were willing to follow Greek law today. There's actually some debate among scholars about how much of this resistance was really about the Greeks and how much was about the Hellenistic Jews.


When Antiochus the fourth died, he was succeeded by his son and Tyack as the fifth. He ruled from 164 to 162 BCE and entire course. The fifth repealed his father's decree, saying that he wanted the subjects of the kingdom to be undisturbed and looking after their own affairs. He left the Jewish community free to, quote, follow the customs of their ancestors.


Following Antiochus the fifth decree, the Jewish community in Jerusalem began cleaning the temple and removing the Greek idols that had been placed there in mid-December of 164 BCE or 25th of Kiselev in the Jewish calendar. It was ready to be rededicated. In this rededication was an eight day observance that included songs, prayers and burnt offerings. The word Hanukkah means dedication, and the holiday is in celebration of this cleansing and rededication of the temple. The Hanukkah story that most people are the most familiar with is that consecrated oil was needed to relight the temples menorah.


But there was only one day's worth of oil and it would take a week to consecrate more of it. However, in this story, a miracle occurred and that one day's worth of oil burned for eight, keeping the menorah lit with more, keeping the menorah lit and still more consecrated oil was ready for it.


This story was first written down hundreds of years after the temple's dedication. So many people view it as symbolic rather than as a historical fact. And instead of being about burning oil, the miracle of Hanukkah becomes a twofold miracle, combining the spiritual victory of Jewish values over Greek values and the military victory of the Jewish force over the saluted army that vastly outnumbered them and had far superior training, equipment and supplies.


And if the story ended here, it would be kind of the like peaceful, happy, warm, delicious fried food time that I have experienced with Hanukkah.


But and TICAS is decree and the rededication of the temple and the restoration of religious freedoms did not put an end to the Maccabean Revolt. And we will talk about how and why it continued after a sponsor break.


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After the restoration of Jewish religious freedom and the rededication of the temple, the Maccabees went on to start another revolt, this time with the ultimate goal of obtaining total independence.


From this elucidates Judah Maccabee won a major victory against the fighting force led by Solicitor General Nicanor in 161 BCE. And much of this illicit army was destroyed in this battle. This decisive victory caught the attention of Rome. The Maccabees went on to sign a treaty with Rome. That same year, Rome had become a threat to both the Ptolemy's and the solutions. So doing this was a little bit of, you know, the enemy of my enemy is my friend kind of thing.


After Judah Maccabee died in battle, his brother, Yonatan, or Jonathan, took over and established himself as the leader in Judea, which soon became an autonomous part of the solution empire through a treaty with saluted King Alexander Barlas. Following the treaty, Jonathan established himself as ruler in 153 BCE and at the same time, Jonathan was also a high priest.


This was a massive upward move in status for the Maccabees, who also came to be known as the Harmony and family. They had been village priests, and now they were both the ruling family of an autonomous Jewish state and also the high priestly family of the Jewish temple. However, simultaneously being the secular leader and the high priest was contrary to Jewish law and to the hereditary lines of secular and religious succession within Judaism. So Jonathan's leadership over religious matters became especially problematic because he had been leading battles during the revolt.


All of this created big, big divisions within the Jewish population because there were people who supported the Maccabean leadership over both civil and religious matters and then other people who thought this combination of roles and disregarding the way that that civil and religious leadership had been passed down through generations felt like that violated the law and was wrong.


When Jonathan was killed, his brother, Shimon, or Simon, took over. And under Simon's rule, the Maccabees overthrew Ekra, which was the Greek stronghold in Jerusalem in 142 BCE. Afterward, Simon declared total independence from the solutions, establishing an independent Jewish kingdom that came to be known as the Tasmanian kingdom. This was a dynastic kingdom, with leadership passing down from father to son, although it was later on in this dynasty before anyone actually took the title of King.


When Simon died, his successor was Johanssons perkiness, or John Harkness, the first, who, through a series of military conquests, made the Tasmanian dynasty about as powerful as the solutions. He also forcibly converted people to Judaism in this conquered territory. John Hakonarson successor was his son, Alexander Yanai, who also conquered new territory and added it to the Tasmanian kingdom. And in addition to fighting with his silhouetted neighbours, he also took sides in a conflict among the various factions that had arisen in response to has rule in at one point reportedly executing 800 Ferris's who opposed him.


The has in Dynasty was in power for about 80 years until 63 BCE. It started to decline after the death of Queen Salom Alexandra in 67 B.C. and infighting between her sons weakened the kingdom.


Roman General Pompey took advantage of these two sons rivalry with each other to lay siege to Jerusalem, which ended in a massacre. And that was really the end of the dynasty. As we mentioned earlier in the show, the first Hanukkah celebrations were in recognition of the cleansing and rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem. But as the Tasmanian dynasty evolved, the celebration of Hanukkah served another purpose as well, because the Tasmanian dynasties dual role as both priests and secular rulers was not met with universal approval.


They established a holiday that would reframe the revolt as a noble struggle and ultimately victorious struggle against Greek oppression.


After the end of the Tasmanian dynasty, there was a move away from celebrating Hanukkah as a major Jewish holiday, both due to its origins through that has meaning and dynasty. The fact that that dynasty was problematic for a lot of people in terms of Jewish law and the fact that it isn't mentioned anywhere in the Torah. Today, though, Hanukkah has become a really culturally important holiday for a lot of Jewish people, particularly in the Jewish diaspora. A lot of the traditions that are most associated with Hanukkah today, like eating latke and other fried food from that has been fried.


And oil come from these family and community celebrations that started long after the end of the Hasman dynasty. And they've mostly been about. You know, a community, a minority community that has often been living in a place where it's been oppressed and discriminated against, so Hanukkah celebrations around the world have come to reflect the communities and the traditions and the cultures. Where are they take place?


Much more so than the story that originally launched the holiday, which as I was researching this, I would find I would find things about the history of Hanukkah that would basically stop at the rededication of the temple and not really talk about what went on with the Tasmanian dynasty after that. And then I would find others by modern Jewish scholars and, you know, rabbis living today who were like this was anti Jewish, like this was not this this later. Part of this history is not what we as Jews believe today about religious freedoms and about Jewish law.


So it was really interesting as an outsider's perspective to see how, like multiple perspectives within one faith about how how this is talked about and discussed, because like there are there are definitely people who were like and this was an independent Jewish state and that was great.


And people who are more like this was an independent Jewish state. But they were making a lot of decisions that I don't know that I don't agree with. So there is definitely diversity within basically all religions, including Judaism, as far as, you know, interpreting events from their past and and interpreting events that are now holidays with celebrations that are in some ways disconnected from what actually happened to span that holiday.


Thanks so much for joining us on this Saturday. Since this episode is out of the archive, if you heard an email address or a Facebook URL or something similar over the course of the show, that could be obsolete. Now, our current email address is History podcast at I Heart radio dot com.


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