Thursday, November 22, 2007

Megillas Antiochus (Megillat Antiochus if you prefer) is the Scroll of Antiochus, an ancient text which records the battles of the Chashmonaim (Hasmoneans) against the Yavanim (Greeks). Rav Sadiah Gaon claims to have traced Megillas Antiochus back to the time of Hillel and Shammai (which is about 100 years after the Chasmonaim and Antiochus), although he believes it was actually composed by the Hasmoneans themselves.

We all know the story of Antiochus who was the Selucid king and who sent his general Bagris to try and conquer Jerusalem. Unlike previous (and later) conquerors, the Selucid Greeks did not try to destroy the Beis Hamikdash, but instead turned it into a Temple to their gods.

The Scroll of Antiochus gives one of the oldest chronicles of the decrees and battles of the Greeks and the Chashmonaim. Originally this Megillah was written in Aramaic, but was later translated into Hebrew.

It appears in many siddurim, and is read in some communities as part of the Chanukah service (similarly to the reading of Megillat Esther on Purim)

Torahlab has published this document in Hebrew with a brand new annotated English translation.

Megillas Antiochus is now available as a free pdf download from

click here to download

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