Asmonaean (Α᾿σαμωναῖος, Α᾿σσαμωναῖος, Joseph. Ant. 12:6,1 sq.; in Joseph. Gorionid. plur. חִשִׁמוֹנים, Chashmonim'; more fully בֵּית חִשׁמוֹנָאֵי, Jonathan's Targ. on 1Sa 2:4; comp. Arab. chashim, noble; חִשׁמִנִּים, Ps 68:32; fat ones, i.e. opulent), the proper designation of the family of the priest Mattathias, whose sons became better known by the surname of the Maccabees. (For the lineage and history of the Asmonaeans in full, see the Penny Cyclopcedia, s.v.) SEE JUDAS MACCABEUS. With Mattathias (B.C. 167) began the exploits of the Asmonaeans in delivering the Jewish people from the oppressive yoke of the Syrian Seleucidee, which was accomplished by Jonathan, son of Mattathias, already a high- priest in rank-a dignity that was now attached to that of Syrian "meridarch." Simon, another son of Mattathias, became himself hereditary prince of the Jews. His grandson Aristobulus assumed the diadem, and the royal dynasty of the Asmonaeans continued on the Jewish throne till the interference of Pompey in Jewish affairs. Aristobulus II, the third king of the Asmonean line, was dethroned by the Romans, and upon his sons devolved the perilous endeavor of regaining their ancestral crown, but without permanence. They both paid therefor the penalty of their lives, the last being Antigonus (whom Antony caused to be beheaded at Antioch, Joseph. Ant. 15:1, 2),with whom the Asmonaean dynasty expired, after a duration of 126 years, in the consulship of M. Vips. Agrippa and Canin. Gallus, i.e. B.C. 37 (see Joseph. Ant. 14:16, 4). The two surviving members of the family, Aristobulus and Mariamne, grandchildren of Aristobulus II, appear, it is true, at first to have striven to maintain a position in life under the Herodian sway suitable to their rank; but they soon fell under the suspicion of King Herod, and, with the assassination of Mariamne, the family of the Asmoneans likewise became extinct (apparently after Herod's return from Antioch, where he had met Octavianus on his return from Egypt, B.C. 9; Joseph. Ant. 15:7,4). The exploits of the Maccabees under Simon are related in the books of the Apocrypha that bear their name (1 and 2 Macc. among the Jews, ספרי חשמונאים, books of the Chashmonceans; see Eichhorn, Finl. in die Apokr. Scl. d. A. T. p. 208 sq.; Jahn, II. 4:949 sq.; Bertholdt, iii, 1036); but the complete history of the Asmonseans is given by Josephus (Ant. 12:6 to 14:16), who was himself a descendant of their lineage (Ant. 16:7, 1). SEE MACCABEE.