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The Kingdom of the Maccabees


Struggles and Expansion

John Hyrcanus I Maintaining Power and Expanding Territories

John Hyrcanus I (134-104), the Maccabean ruler, faced challenges to secure his crown. He first defeated rival Ptolemy and later withstood an attack by Antiochus VII, who besieged Jerusalem. To appease the Greeks, Hyrcanus agreed to their terms, including tearing down the towers on Jerusalem’s walls and paying a tribute of 3,000 talents. Facing a depleted treasury, he resorted to opening King David’s tomb for funds Mithradates II’s Rule and Military Reforms, diminishing the popularity of the Maccabees. Hyrcanus sought aid from Rome against potential Seleucid threats, and with Rome’s assistance, he built a professional Jewish army, expanding Judaea’s borders by conquering Idumaea and Samaria, forcefully converting their inhabitants to Judaism.

Religious Divide and Worldly Policies


Mithradates II’s Rule and Military Reforms


Western Frontiers and Client Kingdoms

Mithradates II faced challenges on the western frontiers, quelling rebellions in Iraq and Charax. He appointed Tigranes as the vassal king of Armenia and captured Seleucid king Demetrius III. In the east, Mithradates successfully redirected Saka raiders into India. The nearby Surens, or Indo-Parthians, became a client kingdom in southeastern Iran and Pakistan, while others established friendly states in India. The Parthian empire, characterized by loose organization, employed native satellite rulers near the borders rather than direct governance Mithradates II and the Flourishing Parthian Empire.

Military Reforms and New Army

Not forgetting the betrayal by Greek mercenaries, Mithradates II enhanced the army to reduce dependence on their services. While cavalry remained the primary force, Mithradates mandated landowners to provide peasants for infantry uni

Mithradates II and the Flourishing Parthian Empire


Challenge from the Scythians

Following Antiochus VII’s defeat, the Parthians faced new challenges from Scythian raids into Iran. In response, Phraates, utilizing Greek captives from Antiochus’s defeat, confronted the Scythians. However, when the battle took a turn for the worse, the Greek captives turned on Phraates, aiding the nomads in defeating the Parthian army. This incident left a lasting impact on Parthian military strategy The Kingdom of the Maccabees.

Successors and Nomadic Threats

Artabanus II, Phraates’s uncle and successor, similarly fell victim to nomadic threats. The subsequent king, Mithradates II, emerged as the most significant ruler in Parthian history. Drawing a parallel between Mithradates II and Darius I, both notable for enriching their respective empires, Mithradates II played a crucial role in transforming the region. In contrast to the challenging arid landscape, the Part

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