Concept

Salome Alexandra

Summary
Salome Alexandra, or Shlomtzion (Σαλώμη Ἀλεξάνδρα; , Šəlōmṣīyyōn, "peace of Zion"; 141–67 BCE), was one of three women to rule over Judea, the other two being Athaliah and Deborah. The wife of Aristobulus I, and afterward of Alexander Jannaeus, she was the last regnant queen of Judea, and the last ruler of Judea to die as the sovereign of an independent kingdom. Salome Alexandra's personal genealogy is not given by Josephus, nor does it appear in any of the Books of the Maccabees. Rabbinical sources designate the rabbi Simeon ben Shetach as her brother, making her the daughter of Shetah as well. Salome Alexandra's oldest son by Alexander Jannaeus was Hyrcanus II who fought his younger brother Aristobulus II in 73 BCE over the Jewish High Priesthood. Hyrcanus II was eventually successful after enlisting the help of the Nabataean king, Aretas III; bribing Roman officials, including Scaurus; and gaining the favour of Pompey, who defeated his brother and took him away to Rome. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, Salome Alexandra was instrumental in arranging the assassination of her brother-in-law, Antigonus, by convincing her husband that his brother was plotting against him.[ "Aristobulus I", Jewish Encyclopedia] Upon the death of Aristobulus in 103 BCE, Aristobulus' widow freed his half-brother, Alexander Jannaeus, who had been held in prison. During the reign of Alexander, who (according to the historian Josephus) apparently married her shortly after his accession, Alexandra seemed to have wielded only slight political influence, as evidenced by the hostile attitude of the king to the Pharisees. The frequent visits to the palace of the chief of the Pharisaic party, Simeon ben Shetach, who was said to be the queen's brother, must have occurred in the early years of Alexander's reign, before Alexander had openly broken with the Pharisees. Alexandra does not seem to have been able to prevent the persecution of that sect by her husband.
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