Seleucus II Kallinikos, the king of Syria portrayed on a silver coin 246-226 BCE, with the god Apollo on reverse side.
Political and Social Structures
Arsinoë II was a Ptolemaic Greek Princess of Ancient Egypt and through marriage was Queen of Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia as wife of King Lysimachus and later co-ruler of Egypt with her brother-husband Ptolemy II Philadelphus.
After the death of Jonathan in 143 B.C.E., the rulers of Sparta felt it necessary to renew their alliance with the new high priest, Simon. Although the “elders” are mentioned as a separate entity, the letter clearly refers to Simon as the chief authority. 20 What follows is a copy of the letter sent by the […]
The intent of this letter was to renew an alliance with the Spartan. It mentions the “senate” (Gerousia) of the Jewish nation as distinct from the high priest, the priests, and the rest of the people. 5 Here is a copy of the letter Jonathan wrote to the Spartans: 6 Jonathan the High Priest, the national council […]
The first mention of the Jewish Gerousia (literally, “Council of Elders”), here termed the “senate,” occurs in this passage from Josephus speaking of the time of Antiochus the Great (223-187 B.C.E). King Antiochus to Ptolemy, sendeth greeting: Since the Jews, upon our first entrance on their country, demonstrated their friendship towards us; and when we came […]
Background to Hanukkah: Inscription Reveals Roots of Maccabean Revolt, Hershel Shanks, BAR 34:06, Nov-Dec 2008.
A major new inscription that recently surfaced on the antiquities market and has been acquired by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem sheds dramatic new light on the run-up to the Maccabean revolt in the second century B.C.E.1 Until now, almost everything we know about the Maccabean revolt, which freed the Temple from the desecration of […]
Excerpted from Lawrence H. Schiffman, Texts and Traditions, Ktav, Hoboken 1998, p.143-145 and Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Apocrypha, copyright 1957 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Writing in 180 B.C.E., Simeon ben […]
Hecateus of Abdera, ca. 360-290 B.C.E., was a historian and ethnographer. Josephus quotes this description of the city of Jerusalem and its Temple from him. Some scholars, however, believe that this description was written by another author who wrote under the name of Hecateus in the first half of second century B.C.E. The selection contrasts […]
This papyrus is an important source for our understanding of the Land of Israel in Ptolemaic times. Especially noteworthy are the technical administrative terms. The document contains two royal edicts pertaining to registration of cattle and slaves. It is dated to the twenty-fifth year of an Egyptian king, generally accepted to be Ptolemy II Philadelphus, […]