The Hellenistic period was post-Alexander when his successors (histop generals) who, in the late 4th C BCE carved up his empire andstruggled against each other to expand their cut of the cake – thePtolemies in Egypt, the Seleucids in Syria, and various dynastiesin Macedonia and Asia Minor.

Judea was both one of the areas in dispute and the route throughwhich contending armies tramped. It alternated between Egyptianand Syrian overlordship. The Maccabaean revolt in the mid-2nd C BCEwas against Syrian control as the Syrian kingdom became weak.

King Antiochus IV decided that all the trouble in the south of hiskingdom arose from the troublesomeness of Judaism, and tried tostamp it out. Traditional Jews had been increasingly upset at thecontinuing hellenisation of the upper and merchant classes inJudea, and with this last straw started a revolt which eventuallyestablished Jewish kings, the last of whom was Herod.

However the Hellenistic kings were progressively brought underRoman control by Pompey’s subjection of the east, and finallyOctavian Augustus’ final establisment of a pax romanus inthe area after Antony and Cleopatra’s demise in 31 BCE.

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