Salome Alexandra [died 67 BCE]

Sixth Hasmonean ruler of Judea. The widow of both Aristobulus I (d. 103 BCE) & Alexander Jannai (d. 76 BCE) became only the second female monarch in Judean history. But she was dominated by the Pharisees, whom her late husband had advised her to placate. In later rabbinic tradition she is even identified as the sister of one of the early leaders of the Pharisaic party, Simeon ben Shetach. The Pharisees' unrestrained campaign of revenge against Alexander's former associates in turn alienated the aristocratic Sadducees & Alexandra's own younger son, Aristobulus II. She died as the latter's army was preparing to lay siege to Jerusalem.

In rabbinic tradition she is called Shelamzion ["Peace to Zion"]. Due to her role in changing the course of Jewish religious politics, rabbinic Jews often regard her as a heroine, if not a saint. This reputation explains the widespread use of the name Salome among Palestinian Jews, including the family of Herod, at the turn of the 1st c. CE.

References: Josephus, Antiquities 13.320, 405-432
                   _____, War 1.85, 107-119.

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