By Isaac Asimov
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Extra resources for Asimov's Guide to the Bible: The New Testament
The southern half, including Judea, was part of the Ptolemaic dominion, and Hie Jews remained under the Ptolemies for a century. Syria, to the north of Judea, was part of the Seleudid power from the beginning. The Seleucids, at the start, reigned also over Babylonia and die stretches to the east which came td be called Parthia. It was the Syrian portion of (he Seleucid Empire which was closest to Judea. In later centuries, when much of the eastern portion of that empire had been lost, its power was centered in Syria, where its western capital, Antioch, was located.
C. would be fee year 137 ,of the Seleucid era that year that Antiochus IV gained the throne. In later years the Jews commonly used the Seleucid era of their business and commercial transactions at a time when kingdom and almost every city had its o m methods for years. As the Jews werescattered widely over the Seleucid era together with the local systems offered a useful method of knitting together die various chronologies. The Seleucid era remained the most manner of counting theyears in theGreek-speaking establishment of the Roman era; that is, the system the year of the legendary founding of the city of Rome.
None of these could possibly withstand the ambitions of the powerful generals (Alexander's "servants" in the words of i Maccabees) who had been trained under Philip and Alexander. The generals fought ceaselessly among themselves for mastery but none of them won a complete victory. C. it became obvious that Alexander's empire would never be reunited and that each general would have to be content with being king over but a portion of i t 1 MACCABEES 705 The first to settle down to this new realization was the general, Ptolemy, who had made himself governor of Egypt immediately after Alexander's death.