This is the record of Sharlappius Avramus of Palmyra, Roman citizen descended from the people of Sinai, who endeavors in the following volume to tell the history of the Judean decline from the height of Maccabee power to the fall of Western Rome so that time shall not dim the shame of deeds perpetrated, nor the heroism of those who fought against them. It is a story of a perpetually old land forever made new by holy acts offset by acts the height of ignominy. It is a record of deeds famous and infamous, and deeds obscure and obscured by time. It is offered to the glory of Christ and his empires on earth as they are in Heaven, in whose service all deeds are free from disgrace.
135 BC, 619 Ab urbe condita, 3626-7
1. John the Hasmonean, nom-de-guerre Hyrcanus, youngest brother of First Liberator Judah the Hasmonean nom-de-guerre Maccabee, born mid-war after his father’s death, was left behind to mind affairs of state while his family journeyed to the Wadi of Nahal David for a wedding uniting the House of Hasmonea with House of Abbus, where Simon Maccabee’s daughter was to marry Ptolemy-ben-Abbus, Greek-appointed governor of Jericho. Within a day, John received notification of his brother’s assassination.
2. Simon Thassi Maccabee: High Priest and Third Liberator of the Hasmonean Revolution, Conquerer of Gaza, Jaffa, and Yavneh, Besieger of Dor, defender against the Medians, ally of King Demitrius II Necator of Greece, defender against Demitrius’s brother Prince Trypho, older brother of the First Liberator; was mid-toast at his own daughter’s wedding when his throat was slit and his vassals murdered.
3. Simon’s daughter, Hannah, became both wife of Ptolemy, and also his prisoner, along with Simon’s other two sons, Eliezer and Matthias, and the matriarch of the Hasmonean dynasty: Miriam Solomonia, widow of High Priest Matthias of Modi’in.
4. Simon was the third of Matthias’s sons to die in office as High Priest and Secretary General of the Hasmonean Revolutionary Party – a position called ‘Liberator’ among the populace, and the second Liberator to be assassinated. Upon his brother’s assassination, John the Hasmonean adapted the name John Hyrcanus Maccabee, Fourth Liberator of the Hasmonean Revolution. A mere few hours after his installment as Liberator, an attempt was made on his life, whereupon the Fourth Liberator immediately slew the assassins with his own fists. No more few hours after the attempt on Hyrcanus, an army raised by Ptolemy attempted to breech the walls of Jerusalem. Ptolemy-ben-Abbus mounted the walls himself along with Simon’s children: Hannah, Eliezer, and Matthias, and the Hasmonean matriarch: Miriam Solomonia, Widow of Matthias – all four of whom were bedecked in chains. Ptolemy immediately set about beating his Hasmonean prisoners in view of the Jerusalemites with pieces of bone heated in a fire. Upon her flaying, Miriam Solomonia uttered the following speech to her son and the people of Jerusalem:
5. “Oh, my son, Johannes Hyrcanus, who chose the name in war of Hyrcania, land of the wolves lain to ruin by Mithridates of Ponthus, the Anatolian scourge of the Medians, Achaemenians, Seleucids, and Parthians! Hold fast your intent! Our torture is but a shadow on your torment watching Ptolemy inflict his agony upon us. Succumb not to fear nor to the Ptolemaic lacerations! Such moments are to us as but titilations on the soul, which belongs to the Holy One! Blessed be His name! Pour out your wrath on the nations that kingdoms that do not acknowledge our name! You and only you are the Lord’s Chosen Defender, Ruler of the Judeans, Fourth Liberator of the Revolution, appointed for your task by the Holy One Without End! Never acquiesce! Never concede! Tremble not! Quaver not! For the Lord is one and He is with you!”
6. Whereupon the Hasmonean matriarch and her grandchildren fell through their irons to their deaths upon the hallowed Jerusalem ground; and the people of Jerusalem, repulsed by their flaying and cherishing the honor of the Revolution, massacred the entire army of Ptolemy-ben-Abbus.