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Thread: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Icon5 Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    So many what ifs here! For starters, you could probably safely bet that there would be no Hanukkah celebration today.

    Secondly, the Hasmonean dynasty would never be established and there would be no Herodian Kingdom by the time of the late Roman Republic and Roman Empire under Augustus. Hell, you could probably argue that the trend of Hellenized Jews would only intensify, to the point where even practices like circumcision would perhaps even die out. That's one of the practices Hellenized Jews tried to abandon in order to socialize and compete with ethnic Greeks at the gymnasium. It was also one of many Jewish practices Antiochos IV Epiphanes tried to stamp out. Historically the Jews eventually embraced the universal Koine Greek tongue and even had their own dialect for it (refer to Biblical literature on that), yet this would probably be even more pronounced in the hypothetical scenario of total Seleucid domination.

    Putting culture aside and focusing on politics, the solidified control of Judea by the Seleucid Empire would have probably allowed them to earnestly invade and possibly conquer nearby Ptolemaic Egypt within a generation. Of course this would still put them on a collision course with Rome, since the Romans (with Greek allies) had already defeated and humbled the Seleucids under Antiochus III "the Great" at the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC. It would probably drive the Ptolemies into the arms of the Romans as a protected client state earlier than in our historical record. It would perhaps embolden the Seleucids to attempt another go at invading mainland Greece and Macedonia.

    The Jews mostly gave up their ideas of political independence after the Bar Kokhba Revolt against Rome in 132-136 AD. Messianism was greatly discouraged after that point and Jewish relevance on the geopolitical stage would only come about with the Zionist efforts to create the state of Israel in the 20th century. One could argue that a Seleucid victory in the Maccabean Revolt would have manufactured a similar result and the later Romans (assuming they would conquer the region in an alternative timeline) would never have to face a Jewish revolt at all. At that point the Jewish spirit for politics and independence would have long been shattered or become irrelevant due to their Hellenistic nature. Jesus would be speaking Koine Greek instead of Aramaic or whatever, and who knows what would happen to Christianity.

    What do you guys think? Am I just blowing hot air or am I onto something?

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    Default Re: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    The apostles didn't need to learn greek so as to speak it, cause the holy spirit gave them the ability to speak in whatever tongue they wanted
    Λέων μεν ὄνυξι κρατεῖ, κέρασι δε βούς, ἄνθρωπος δε νῷι
    "While the lion prevails with its claws, and the ox through its horns, man does by his thinking"
    Anaxagoras of Klazomenae, 5th century BC










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    Default Re: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    I thought the Maccabaean revolt was a scuffle between some more conservative elements and some more trendy Hellenising ones, not a war of independence at all. AFAIK they never achieved anything like independence, merely switched who was talking orders from the Seleucids. From the Hellenic POV it doesn't even register as an event, its just the descendants of JMac liked to remember his struggle as something a little more significant than it really was. Politicians, eh?

    You make a good point about the degree of Hellenisation, the very interesting linguistic tensions present in the Septuagint show that this process was quite developed in Jewish populations outside Canaan. I doubt more Hellenising would eradicate the stubbornly persistent Jewish sense of identity, and one holiday less on the calendar would not lead to mass conversion to other religions.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Default Re: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    Well thanks a lot, Cyclops, for sticking a pin in my balloon.



    You're probably right, though, at least as far as the Seleucids are concerned. Yet I had to wonder about this, seeing the Jewish reaction formation to the crushing of the Bar Kokhba Revolt by Hadrian.

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    Default Re: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Well thanks a lot, Cyclops, for sticking a pin in my balloon.

    At least I didn't stick a shpilke in your tuckus!

    We need a rabbi smiley, there's a bishop and an Imam.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post

    You're probably right, though, at least as far as the Seleucids are concerned. Yet I had to wonder about this, seeing the Jewish reaction formation to the crushing of the Bar Kokhba Revolt by Hadrian.
    So Jewish identity was a fairly strong and adaptable thing. They came up with a way of staying Jewish through the Exile in Babylon, and rewrote the old stories to confirm they'd done it before in the Exodus (and indeed reshaped the whole narrative of the old books toward confirming a Jewish identity): powerful stuff that got them through maybe the Assyrians, the Babylonians, Hellenism, the Romans, the rise of Christendom and the rise of Islam. Nice Persians and harsh Franks could not dissolve their sense of self, a little extra Hellas isn't going to change the story here.

    We see the two great strains of Judaism, Sephardic and Ashkenazy able to recombine in Israel, and in fact the heavy lifting of forging modern Israel itself was largely the work of secular or atheist socialist Jews: while Zionism seems to have originated in a joyful strain of eastern European Jewish culture, all the other strains were able to recombine after two millennia to make the mission succeed. Even a cynical old Goy like me can see the beauty in that, and the persistence of identity is undeniable.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Ἀπολλόδοτος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ's Avatar Yeah science!
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    Default Re: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    So many what ifs here! For starters, you could probably safely bet that there would be no Hanukkah celebration today.
    Not being able to enjoy the traditional Hanukkah food alone would be unbearable...

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Jesus would be speaking Koine Greek instead of Aramaic or whatever, and who knows what would happen to Christianity.
    Perhaps to some extent, still, centuries passed and Aramaic remained people's native tongue in hellenistic Syria. As for Christianity, there's no way of confirming that there wouldn't be other messianic figures instead of Jesus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    I thought the Maccabaean revolt was a scuffle between some more conservative elements and some more trendy Hellenising ones, not a war of independence at all. AFAIK they never achieved anything like independence, merely switched who was talking orders from the Seleucids. From the Hellenic POV it doesn't even register as an event, its just the descendants of JMac liked to remember his struggle as something a little more significant than it really was. Politicians, eh?
    That's how modern historians view it, but as any true believer knows, beliefs trump facts...
    "First get your facts straight, then distort them at your leisure." - Mark Twain

    οὐκ ἦν μὲν ἐγώ, νῦν δ' εἰμί τότε δ' ούκ ἔσομαι, ούδέ μοι μελήσει

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    Default Re: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    Even according to 1 Maccabees, the revolt was crushed and Judah Maccabeus was killed. His brothers then fled into the wilderness, they only came to power by being the Jewish faction who supported Alexander Balas. John Hyrcanus became the first truly independent Hasmonian in 110 BC, when he started conquering his neighbors and the Seleucids were too weak from fighting the Parthians and too busy fighting amongst themselves to do anything about it. All of Antiquities 13 is relevant, but here's the particular section on Hyrcanus. Note that Hyrcanus, from the anti-Hellenizing faction, named two of his sons Alexander and Antigonus.
    Last edited by sumskilz; May 02, 2017 at 06:31 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


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    Default Re: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    Quit sticking pins in my balloons, Sumskilz.

    I wasn't contesting that Judah was killed at the Battle of Elasa (160 BC), only that the Seleucid control and influence in Judea as originally (and allegedly) desired by Antiochus IV Epiphanes was partially neutered by this revolt. The Seleucids apparently made compromises with the more conservative Jews, especially in regards to the managing of the Temple, well before Hyrcanus came to power as an independent sovereign.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    At least I didn't stick a shpilke in your tuckus!

    We need a rabbi smiley, there's a bishop and an Imam.
    There's a Zionist conspiracy to deny us the use of rabbi smilies!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ἀπολλόδοτος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ View Post
    Not being able to enjoy the traditional Hanukkah food alone would be unbearable...
    And what would South Park have done without all those Hanukkah jokes?

    Perhaps to some extent, still, centuries passed and Aramaic remained people's native tongue in hellenistic Syria. As for Christianity, there's no way of confirming that there wouldn't be other messianic figures instead of Jesus.
    That's a good point about language. For that matter, Neo-Aramaic is still spoken in parts of West Asia.

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    Default Re: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Quit sticking pins in my balloons, Sumskilz.


    Its what he does. ITS ALL HE DOES!

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    I wasn't contesting that Judah was killed at the Battle of Elasa (160 BC), only that the Seleucid control and influence in Judea as originally (and allegedly) desired by Antiochus IV Epiphanes was partially neutered by this revolt. The Seleucids apparently made compromises with the more conservative Jews, especially in regards to the managing of the Temple, well before Hyrcanus came to power as an independent sovereign.
    Indeed. So the net result might be more penetration of Hellenic culture into some elite Jewish circles, as eventually happened in any case, possibly to a lesser extent. Your ordinary working Jews and Samaritans would remain pretty much as they were historically, I guess with many turning to other religions when the temple became unavailable, and the diaspora would continue to use a mixture of Hebrew, perhaps Aramaic and Hellenic as well as local languages.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    There's a Zionist conspiracy to deny us the use of rabbi smilies!
    Only one day a week though. On Zionist conspiracies, I know a guy working in a library who found a pamphlet from 1939 that blamed WWII and the Nazis on the Jews. It stated that "while the current German leader seems to be against the Jews, it will be come clear they are acting on their behalf". I have to say that's taking the conspiracies to a new level, Hitler as a Jewish mole. I hope the author was tarred and feathered after that effort.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    And what would South Park have done without all those Hanukkah jokes?
    They've done them I think, the Jewish Camp episode where Moses appears and demands gold-painted macaroni sculptures was pretty funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    That's a good point about language. For that matter, Neo-Aramaic is still spoken in parts of West Asia.



    What good is knowing Neo-Aramaic if you're unable to speak it?
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Default Re: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post


    Its what he does. ITS ALL HE DOES!
    Yeah, but Kyle Reese should be so thankful if that's all the Terminator did...targeting John Connor's birthday balloons for termination that is.

    Indeed. So the net result might be more penetration of Hellenic culture into some elite Jewish circles, as eventually happened in any case, possibly to a lesser extent. Your ordinary working Jews and Samaritans would remain pretty much as they were historically, I guess with many turning to other religions when the temple became unavailable, and the diaspora would continue to use a mixture of Hebrew, perhaps Aramaic and Hellenic as well as local languages.
    I suppose the premise of my OP has lost a lot of its punch, then. Is there no scenario of Seleucid interference/domination that could be compared to Bar Kokhba in terms of its impact and consequences for centuries? I'd like to think my thread has more of a purpose.

    Only one day a week though. On Zionist conspiracies, I know a guy working in a library who found a pamphlet from 1939 that blamed WWII and the Nazis on the Jews. It stated that "while the current German leader seems to be against the Jews, it will be come clear they are acting on their behalf". I have to say that's taking the conspiracies to a new level, Hitler as a Jewish mole. I hope the author was tarred and feathered after that effort.
    Sounds like a swell guy who belongs in Roger Rabbit's Toon Town.

    They've done them I think, the Jewish Camp episode where Moses appears and demands gold-painted macaroni sculptures was pretty funny.
    Totally. They also did the Christmas musical episode with the spinning dreidel shtick that Cartman made fun of, among other things.



    What good is knowing Neo-Aramaic if you're unable to speak it?
    Mr. Anderson certainly can't speak it, not even in the Matrix, but apparently there are about half a million people who still can.

    ISIS will see to it that that number drops significantly, no doubt.

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    Default Re: Jewish Maccabean Revolt: what if the Seleucid Empire defeated and annihilated them instead?

    No more christianity and Islam, and a better world. If only Antiochus IV Epiphanes, my sweet prince.

    I ain't jokin' when it comes to mah paintings ಠ_ಠ

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