Alexander Son of Aristobulus II

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ALEXANDER SON OF ARISTOBULUS II (d. 49 b.c.e.), one of the last of the *Hasmoneans. Alexander, eldest son of Aristobulus ii, was the son-in-law of *Hyrcanus ii. His wife, *Alexandra, was the mother of *Mariamne, wife of *Herod the Great. As a result of the struggle between Aristobulus ii and Hyrcanus ii for the throne of Judea, Alexander was sent by Pompey in 63 b.c.e. as a captive to Rome – with his father and the rest of his family. He escaped on the way and returned to Judea, where he succeeded in mustering an army of 10,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry, and in occupying the strongholds of Alexandreion, Hyrcania, and Machaerus. *Gabinius, recently arrived in Syria as proconsul, collected a force to oppose him and sent his adjutant Mark Anthony ahead. Anthony equipped an additional Jewish contingent under the Jewish commanders Peitholaus and Malichus. Gabinius defeated Alexander's army in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and the remnant fled to Alexandreion. Besieging the fortress, Gabinius promised Alexander his freedom and an amnesty for his troops if he surrendered. His mother also pleaded with Alexander to accept this condition and he left Alexandreion which was then razed to the ground by Gabinius. Gabinius thereupon introduced a much more stringent administrative system than was in force earlier.

Alexander rebelled a second time in 55 b.c.e., when Gabinius was in Egypt. He again mustered a large force and began to drive the Romans from Judea. Gabinius returned and immediately advanced to meet Alexander. He employed *Antipater to persuade Alexander's army to desert to Hyrcanus. Alexander, however, still had thirty thousand men left and he met in battle the armies of Gabinius and Hyrcanus at

Mt. Tabor and was defeated. The defeat shattered Alexander's resources. Antipater, however, succeeded in effecting a reconciliation between Alexander and Hyrcanus, by arranging a marriage between Alexander and Hyrcanus' daughter Alexandra, which might eventually enable Alexander to become high priest. When civil war broke out in Rome between Julius Caesar and Pompey in 49 b.c.e., Pompey ordered his father-in-law Q. Caecilius Metellus Scipio, then proconsul in Syria, to put Alexander to death in Antiochia.


Jos., Ant., 14:80–125; Jos., Wars, 1:160–85; A.H.M. Jones, The Herods of Judaea (1938); Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 3 (19502), 236 ff.; Schuerer, Gesch, 1 (19014), 338 ff.; Graetz, Gesch, 3 (19055), 166–7, 17 1 ff.; A. Schalit, Hordos ha-Melekh (19643), 26 ff.

[Abraham Schalit]

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Alexander Son of Aristobulus II

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