Wife of Simon the Thassi / אשת שמעון התרסי (b. - 135)

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Birthplace: Judea
Death: Died in Judea
Managed by: Douglas Nimmo
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About Wife of Simon the Thassi / אשת שמעון התרסי


Wife of Simon the Hasmonean (d. 135 B.C.E.). We hear nothing about her before the last days of her life, but an allusion to her may be found in the slanderous account of the circumstance of the birth of her son John Hyrcanus. It was suggested by his political opponents that he should not hold the office of High Priest because his mother had been held prisoner by the Seleucids just prior to his birth and might have been raped, thus raising some doubt about his true father. (Ant. 13:292). Chronology allows for such a scenario.

This woman apparently bore her husband three sons and a daughter. We first hear of her when she and her husband and two of their sons were taken hostage and then murdered by Simon’s son-in-law. After the execution of her husband, when her remaining son, John Hyrcanus, set out to attack his father’s murderer, his mother was brought out on to the turrets of the castle in which the perpetrator was hiding and tortured before her son’s eyes, so as to induce him to desist from his military campaign. We are told that she encouraged him to ignore these actions and continue his pursuits. In the end, however, Hyrcanus did not conquer the castle and his mother was executed (Ant. 13:230–235). Since the story is very dramatic but has no specific historical consequences we may wonder whether it was not inserted into the narrative simply for its dramatic effect.