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ALEXANDER JANNAEUS (Hebrew name, Jonathan).

Reigned 103-76 B.C.E. as king and high priest; son of Johanan Hyrcanos; first of the Hasmonean dynasty to be called king; and first to issue coins stamped in both Greek and Hebrew. He married Queen Salome Alexandra, sister of Simon ben Shetah, president of the Sanhedrin, or high court.

Jannaeus was a courageous warrior-king who extended Palestine’s borders by conquering the Mediterranean coast as far as the Egyptian border. He reconquered the eastern area from Lake Huleh to the Dead Sea and captured a number of cities beyond the eastern regions of the Jordan. In their dispute with the Pharisees, he sided with the Sadducees. This quarrel brought on a civil war and served to detract from the honor of king and country. During his last battle against the king of Arabia, Jannaeus died from a severe attack of malaria. He was buried near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.

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