Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, a historical romance novel set in 1st-century Judea and Antioch, was written by Lew Wallace (1827–1905) and published by Harper & Brothers in 1880. It has generated more successful popular artistic by-products and had a larger commercial impact than any other modern literary property within the Greco-Roman tradition. The novel’s protagonist, Judah Ben-Hur, is a wealthy Jewish teenager betrayed by his Roman friend Messala and enslaved in a naval galley, where he rescues the tribune Quintus Arrius, who in turn adopts him. Judah returns to Judea, defeats Messala in a chariot race in Antioch, and then raises three legions to support the new “King of the Jews,” whose message of peace he ultimately realizes.The novel did not become a bestseller until 1885, when Wallace, a retired Civil War major-general turned Indiana attorney and literary businessman, wrote a prequel for one of Harper’s magazines and then embarked on lecture tours, most notably reading aloud the chariot race passage to several thousand enthusiasts at Chautauqua in 1886.
John Hyrcanus was a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, a priestly family that ruled Judea from 152 to 63 bce. He became high priest in 135 bce and succeeded, after Antiochus VII Sidete’s death, in establishing an independent Judean state thanks to the growing dissensions among the members of the Seleucid dynasty. In the last years of his rule, between 111 and 105 bce, he enlarged Judea’s borders through a series of military campaigns in Idumea, Samaria, and the Transjordan area. He destroyed the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim and imposed Jewish laws and circumcision upon the Idumeans. Josephus’s work and rabbinic writings convey a generally positive record of his rule.John Hyrcanus was a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, a priestly family that ruled Judea from 152 to 63bce—from 63 to 37bce they remained in charge to some extent, but under Roman supervision.1 John Hyrcanus was the son of Simon, the nephew of Judas Maccabeus, and the grandson of Mattathias, who started the “Maccabean revolt” against the Seleucid king .
Alexander Jannaeus was a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, a priestly family that ruled Judea from 152 to 63 bce. He became high priest and king in 104/3 bce and waged numerous wars that were both defensive and meant to enlarge Judea’s borders. It was under his rule that Judea’s territory reached its maximum extension. Yet both Josephus’s works and rabbinic writings convey a rather negative record of his rule, mainly because of the violent suppression of his Judean opponents. He ruled for roughly twenty-eight years (from 104 to 76 bce) and left his kingdom to his wife, Salome Alexandra, who became the first Judean queen.Alexander Jannaeus was a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, a priestly family that ruled Judea from 152 to 63bce—from 63 to 37bce they remained in charge to some extent, but under Roman supervision.1 Jannaeus was the son of John Hyrcanus.