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Salome Alexandria

(139 - 67 BCE)

Salome (Shelamzion) Alexandria was the first queen of the Hasmonean dynasty. She was the wife of Alexander Jannai and the mother of Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II. After Alexander died, she inherited the title of ruler of the government.

Salome was able to make peace in the land by uniting the Pharisees with the Hasmoneans (something her husband had refused to do). Traditional oral law again became the law of the secular government. Her peace-making abilities prevented attacks from Armenia and she became a beloved ruler of the Pharisees.

Salome Alexandria retained the support of her older son, Hyrcanus II, but Aristobulus II did not agree with her diplomatic policies. Salome went so far as to allow the Judean military to use force against Aristobulus II. This, in turn, led to a civil war and the end of Salome Alexandria's peaceful reign.

While she was criticized by Josephus, she was praised in Talmudic texts as a keeper of the oral laws and a peaceful ruler.

Sources: Taitz, Emily, Sondra Henry, Cheryl Tallan. TheJPS Guide to Jewish Women. PA: Jewish Publication Society of America, 2003.