There were two main elements in the emergence of Maccabean rule in Jerusalem: the decline in power of the Seleucid empire and the conflict in Jerusalem between Hellenizing influences and the orthodox followers of Yahweh. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who seized power in 175 B.C., was induced to interfere in the quarrels between the opposing groups and in due course carried his interference, in 169 B.C., to the extent of attacking Jerusalem, destroying its walls, and establishing a fortress, the Akra, to dominate the town. In 167 B.C., he took the still more drastic step of abolishing the worship of Yahweh and setting up a cult of Zeus Olympius. The revolt against this terrible sacrilege was led by the Hasmonean family, first by Mattathias and then by his son Judas, whose nickname Maccabeus came to be applied to the whole movement. His remarkable military success against the weakened Seleucid power established the Maccabean rule of Jerusalem, and eventually of Judah.

from page 190, Digging Up Jerusalem