Hyrcanus II, John

(c. 103 BC–30 BC)
   Hasmonean high priest of Judea 63– 43 BC. Hyrcanus II was the weak but ambitious eldest son of the Hasmonean ruler Alexander JANNAI and SALOMEALEXANDRA. On the death of his father, his mother became ruler. She made Hyrcanus high priest and his more forceful brother ARISTOBOLUS II commander of the army. On Salome Alexandra’s death in 67 BC Aristobolus seized power and proclaimed himself king. In 62 BC Hyrcanus was reinstated by Pompey, and later recognized by Julius Caesar as ethnarch and high priest. Hyrcanus came strongly under the influence of ANTIPATER, his wily Idumean (Edomite) chief adviser. In 40 BC, Aristobolus’s son ANTIGONUS II invaded Judea with the support of the Parthians, the rival power to Rome. Jerusalem was taken and Hyrcanus captured. He was mutilated by having his ears cut off, thereby disqualifying him from the office of high priest, and was taken in exile to Babylonia, where he lived quietly for some years.
   When Antipater’s son HEROD THE GREAT became king of Judea, he allowed Hyrcanus to return from exile and married Hyrcanus’s granddaughter MARIAMNE. But in 30 BC the jealous Herod had the aged Hyrcanus tried on a trumped-up charge and executed. In this pathetic way ended the Hasmonean house that had started so heroically with Judas Maccabeus and his brothers, over a century earlier.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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