(killed 76 BCE)
Sixth Hasmonean priest to rule Judea.
The youngest son of Johanan
Hyrcanus was imprisoned for a year by his oldest brother, Aristobulus [104 BCE]. Released by his widowed
whom he married, Alexander conquered cities on the Mediterranean coast
from Gaza to Carmel and extended
Judean control to Gadara across the Jordan. He ruled more territory than any Judean king since Solomon. Yet he
faced mounting criticism from hasidic Jews in Jerusalem.
Public outrage at this Hellenized soldier-priest reached a climax when
he was pelted with citrons at the festival of Sukkoth [Oct. 94 BCE]. His soldiers responded by massacring thousands of worshippers.
This in turn led to a six year revolt led by the Pharisees,
who called the Syrian king Demetrius III to their aid. Alexander's forces
were crushed at Shechem [88 BCE]. But the Judean rebels rallied around him, when they realized
that the Syrian army planned to take Jerusalem.
Rather than accept their aid, Alexander sought vengeance against the
rebels by crucifying 800 Pharisees. His remaining years were spent on
military campaigns. He died in battle near Gadara.