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23 maja // 23 May: Gary Gilbert (McKenna College, Claremont), The City of the Akko and Hasmonean Political Strategy

The ancient city of Akko was one of the most important maritime centers on the Levantine coast.  It was used by numerous empires, rulers, and others as a major commercial and military center.  In the second and first centuries BCE, members of the Hasmonean dynasty attempted to gain control of the city.  Despite the lack of success, their interest in Akko, known at the time as Ptolemais, can be understood within the political ambitions and objectives of the Hasmoneans. It is often suggested that Hasmonean territorial expansion was built on a model to replicate the ancient kingdoms of Israel and to enforce biblical law, particularly against idolatry in the land of Israel.  The Hasmonean interest in Akko, however, speaks to a different set of models and aspirations, namely the model of Hellenistic royalty and the desire to have a secure access to the Mediterranean.